With Music and Justice for All
Some Southerners and Their Passions
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Vanderbilt University Press
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Table of Contents
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This book is a collection of work that I have done over some thirty-five years. During that time, I have been lucky enough to write about the South—a combination of journalism and memoir, with a dash of history thrown in here and there. I continue to believe that the larger-than-life figures of our age—from...
Introduction: The Heart of Dixie
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There are memories now of the Alabama summers and a farm in rural Montgomery County, a rolling piece of Black Belt prairie where the Muskogee people hunted buffalo and deer. In the 1950s it was a tamer place as I came to...
Part I: “A Change Is Gonna Come”
Deliverance: The Greensboro Four
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For Franklin McCain, there are moments when the memory of it comes rushing back—the feeling he had when he took his place at the counter, on the padded swivel stool beneath the laminated signs promoting lemon pie. He and...
The Power and the Glory of a Tuna Fish Sandwich
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He heard the news on a February night in 1960, in the desolate hours just before dawn. He was driving south through Virginia on his way home to Charlotte, the radio crackling through the cold morning air. The newscast...
Perry Wallace: The Long Road Home
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He stood at the center of the hardwood floor and did his best to take it all in. There had been other times, other moments when the cheering had swept through the building, but he had never imagined it could feel like this. On a February...
The Sheriff Without a Gun
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It was February 1965 when Thomas Gilmore came back home. He had gotten tired of Alabama for a while, the meanness of it, the rigid segregation, and in 1963 he had moved his family out to California. But he discovered early...
RFK: A Night at Vanderbilt
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It’s approaching forty years as I write about it now, and the thing I remember is the crush of the crowd—how they jammed together and filled up the airport and screamed and waved signs and surged forward at the sight of...
Free at Last, Free at Last
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Lewis Baldwin remembers the day in 1965—February 15, a Monday afternoon, chilly perhaps and just a bit cloudy, though some of those specifics are beginning to fade. But there is still the mental picture of the crowd, right there in the heart of the Alabama black belt, where the civil rights...
Part II: “Amazing Grace”
The Gospel According to Will
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I stopped off in Nashville a little while back for a few days of R&R with my friend Will Campbell—a Baptist-bred drinking buddy and spiritual adviser who has emerged over the years as a kind of Socratic southern gadfly, a thorn in the flesh of the conventional wisdom. I arrived a little late for...
The Double-Edged Legacy of Billy Graham
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He looked so frail as he entered the stadium, hunched forward slightly on the seat of the golf cart, then rising unsteadily at the edge of the podium. Two men had to help him up the steps, each at an elbow providing support. That was not the way I remembered...
Charlotte’s Holy Wars: Religion in a New South City
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It was the middle of spring in 2005, a time when the Mecklenburg County Commission was considering an insurance plan for unmarried couples, gay or straight, who worked for local government. Dan Burrell, the senior minister at...
The Lonely Crusade of Karen Graham
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Karen Graham stood before the grave, running her hands through her wind-blown hair. It was her first time back since the day of the funeral. She folded her arms across her faded t-shirt, then squatted and stared at the grave...
Koinonia: The Birth of Habitat for Humanity
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It began essentially with a broken heart. Linda Fuller sat on her bed with her husband beside her—a stricken look in his eyes as he listened in disbelief to her words. She said she was going away for a while. She needed time to think, to try to decide whether their marriage had a future. Millard tried to argue with...
The Lion’s Den and Jimmy Carter
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Jimmy Carter, the Christian crusader for peace, stood before his Brandeis University audience, gazing out across nearly two thousand faces as he prepared to defend his criticism of Israel. It was January 2007, and Carter was...
Part III: Soundtracks
The Man in Black
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It stands there on the left, a mile or two beyond the tacky frontiers of runaway suburbia, looking like an antebellum prop on a movie set. Unlike most recording studios in Nashville, which are jammed together in a spruced-up swatch of urban renewal turf, the House of Cash rises stately and...
Southern Rock: The New Good Ole Boys
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A late winter’s night in Nashville, and the city auditorium is jammed to the gills. Every high school and college student within a hundred-mile radius appears to have migrated in for a concert by the Marshall Tucker Band. The atmosphere...
Old-Fashioned Notions of Love and Music
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The crowds are bigger now than they were. In Nashville at the end of their most recent tour, there were maybe five hundred people at Performance Hall #328, a cavernous room with cement floors and bare brick walls and a scattering of chairs that nobody uses—not on this particular night at...
With Music and Justice for All
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Some people say it has its roots in the mountains, this music he has made for twenty-five years. Si Kahn will tell you there is some truth to that. Long before his work as an organizer brought him to Charlotte, North Carolina, the base for...
Part IV: Characters
A Visit with John T. Scopes
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On April 1, 1970, I reported to work as I always did, with mingled feelings of boredom and dread, taking my seat in the claustrophobic office that I shared with sixteen teletype machines. Fred Moen, czar of the Associated...
James Baldwin’s First Journey South
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The picture took the writer by surprise when he saw it that afternoon in Paris. There was a dignity about it that you might not have expected as the young girl made her way through the mob. She seemed so serene in the midst...
The Many Crusades of Tipper Gore
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It was a July afternoon in Tipper Gore’s office, one of her rare interviews these days, a moment when the memories came flooding back. There were stories of the Clintons and Nelson Mandela and the infested refugee camps of...
The Education of Robert Howard Allen
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There’s a small framed portrait in Robert Allen’s office, a bearded ancestor from the nineteenth century peering out across the clutter of the desk and the bookshelves crammed full of classical texts. It’s hard to say which is more...
Pride and Prejudice
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The funeral scene stays with you for a while. The prose itself is haunting in its rhythms—elegant in its cadence and its vivid word pictures—as C. Eric Lincoln describes the little church, hot and crowded and overflowing with grief. A leading black citizen has died, a matriarch of tenderness...
The Last Confession
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He exists for me in bits and pieces of memory: the high cheekbones and slightly hooked nose, the wispy white hair and the frailties that slowly whittled away at his vigor. He was ninety years old by the time I was born, but our...
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The majority of the stories assembled here have appeared in other forms in other places. Most of the introductory piece, “The Heart of Dixie,” appeared in the fine anthology of Alabama writers..
Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2008