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T H E A L A B A M A R E V I E W 292 Civil War, explorations of the Mobilian language, and eighteenth-century Choctaw political organization. Part four, “Ethnohistory and Ethics: Defining the Situation,” details Galloway’s public work with museum exhibitions and emphasizes her “notion that history is and must be a moral practice” (p. 19). These concluding essays feature her account of ethics and revising Mississippi’s colonial history for a particular museum audience and a thoughtful survey of the way in which Europeans and Americans have treated (or rather mistreated) the remains of Indian peoples. Galloway asks more questions than she answers and issues challenges for those working in the field. Her writing is fast-paced and studded with technical terms and complex arguments. It is not for the casual reader; ethnohistorians, Americanists, colonialists, documentary editors, anthropologists, and archaeologists will admire and benefit from careful reading and study of Galloway’s work, however, as will anyone with a serious interest in the history of the southeastern Indians. Although Galloway’s work most closely focuses on the Choctaw Indians, her methods and practice are widely applicable, and her topics—from the De Soto expedition to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act—will find eager readers everywhere. KATHRYN H. BRAUND Auburn University A White Preacher’s Message on Race and Reconciliation: Based on His Experiences Beginning with the Montgomery Bus Boycott. By Robert S. Graetz Jr. Montgomery: NewSouth Books, 2006. 280 pp. $26.95. ISBN 1-58838190 -0. Robert Graetz, a Lutheran minister who gained fame as the only white leader in the 1955–56 bus boycott in Montgomery, tells his extraordinary story in A White Preacher’s Message on Race and Reconciliation. Spurred by a radical Christian ethic, Graetz believed that he could most effectively bring about racial justice by becoming black himself. At first glance the idea seems faintly patronizing, if not ridiculous, but Graetz’s vicarious blackness was a powerful ethical and spiritual identification that contained a demanding political imperative. A century earlier, the white radical abolitionists Gerrit Smith and John Brown had wished to be black, a paradox that animated The Black Hearts of Men (Cambridge, Mass., 2002), Jon Stauffer’s enthralling historical study. Graetz’s own “black heart” was O C T O B E R 2 0 0 7 293 perhaps only possible in a similar period of national moral upheaval. His memoir shows how religion could, sometimes, bridge the most intractable racial divides. Robert Graetz was born in West Virginia in 1928, just eight months before Martin Luther King Jr. Both men were molded by a flourishing liberal Protestant ethos that is now almost impossible to recall. During college, Graetz joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and led a “Race Relations Club,” whose membership included his future wife Jeannie. In 1952 the couple journeyed to Los Angeles, where Robert did a two-year seminary internship with a mostly black church. Well before the Montgomery movement, his faith had led him to the frontiers of interracial community. Trinity Lutheran Church, an African American congregation in Montgomery, brought Graetz to a grander stage. He described his years there in more elaborate detail in an earlier book, currently available as A White Preacher’s Memoir (Montgomery, 1999), but offers a revised account in this new work. Just months after he moved with his family into the black neighborhood where Rosa Parks and E. D. Nixon also lived, Parks was arrested and the boycott began. Graetz threw himself into it, attending trials, providing rides for boycotters, and plotting strategy. The city’s outraged segregationists labeled him the “white-nigger preacher” (pp. 103–104). Indeed, the presence in Montgomery of a white man with a black heart produced unending incongruities. Graetz was the only boycott leader who could sneak undetected into a meeting of the racist White Citizens Council, as he did early in 1956. Soon, however, his whiteness began to work against him. “Since my very presence was a novelty to the press corps,” he explains, “my picture appeared much too often in local and out of town newspapers” (p. 23). He...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-9961
Print ISSN
0002-4341
Pages
pp. 292-294
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-11
Open Access
No
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