In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

J U L Y 2 0 0 7 235 live for my little sisters” (p. 149). Also poignant are letters written among family members after the death of John, a tragedy that engendered an overwhelming sense of loss among the remaining Francis brothers. Anguished at his inability to retrieve his brother’s body and have it buried at home, Jo sends his mother a poem in which he writes “Dearest brother, thou hast left us, here thy loss we deeply feel” (p. 184). This is a superbly edited volume and it makes a vital contribution to Civil War studies. The content of the letters and the writers’ perspectives add to scholarship on the experience of the slaveholding class during the war. The book will likewise be of special interest to historians of southern women for the reflective nature of the letters written to and by the Francis women. TRICIA HOSKINS Auburn University Journey toward Justice: Juliette Hampton Morgan and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. By Mary Stanton. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2006. xiii, 262 pp. $29.95. ISBN 0-8203-2857-X. On December 12, 1955, the Montgomery Advertiser published a letter from Juliette Hampton Morgan, a city librarian of impeccable white Alabama lineage, in which she praised the city’s black citizens for their “quiet dignity, discipline and dedication” during their current boycott of the local bus company. “The spirit animating them,” she wrote, clearly showed that they had “taken a lesson from Gandhi and our own Thoreau,” as she implored her fellow white citizens to resist those who were “openly flouting . . . the law of the land” (pp. 161–62). It was not the first letter she had written opposing segregation—indeed, she had become its implacable critic over the years—but none earned her more opprobrium. In the racially charged post-Brown atmosphere, as the white South closed ranks around its “way of life,” the few brave dissenters could expect social ostracism, economic difficulties, and naked hatred. Juliette was no exception. Within eighteen months of the letter’s publication she had taken her own life. Although her mental health had always been fragile, and suicide usually arises from a multiplicity of causes, there can be no doubt that the fierce hostility of her fellow white citizens (the insults, the obscene telephone calls, the cross burned on her lawn) together with her own sense of guilt at not doing more to fight segregation, helped hasten the onset of severe depression, which ended in her death. T H E A L A B A M A R E V I E W 236 During a conversation years ago, Virginia Durr (another of that lonely band of southern liberals who, in her words, stood “outside the magic circle” in their support for racial decency in Montgomery) spoke movingly of the price Juliette Morgan paid for her courage. Indeed, she wanted me to write her biography, but I declined because I could not have done justice to Morgan’s story. Now Mary Stanton has given us a finely wrought, deeply moving biography, and I am glad I felt unable to undertake the task. Using a wide variety of sources—Juliette’s own correspondence, reminiscences and interviews, manuscript collections, and the rich secondary literature on the iconic Montgomery bus boycott—Stanton recounts the life of a middle class southern woman, born to a family steeped in the tradition of the Old South, who came to abhor the white supremacist ideology which lay at its core. It is also a story of generational conflict, of an ambivalence between mother and daughter that was a major factor in explaining Juliette’s instability, and, oddly, also her stubbornness when confronting injustice. Stanton describes very well the genteel world in which Juliette was raised, but the core of the book centers on her developing awareness of the racial injustice that lay beneath its veneer, her determination to take a stand against it, and the guilt and despair she often felt at the seeming futility of her efforts. Often she acted alone, as in her refusal to ride Montgomery’s buses because of the insulting way the drivers treated black passengers. She wrote long letters...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
2166-9961
Print ISSN
0002-4341
Pages
pp. 235-237
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-11
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.