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Fighting the Devil in Dixie: How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama Hardcover – January 1, 2011


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Fighting the Devil in Dixie: How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama + Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; First Edition edition (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569763453
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569763452
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #602,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Journalist Greenhaw grew up in Alabama and had relatives and family friends deeply ensconced in the Ku Klux Klan. As an individual and later a reporter covering the civil rights movement for the Alabama Journal and the Montgomery Advertiser, Greenhaw made close contact with the heroic and villainous elements of the civil rights era. He chronicles the famous and the lesser-known, the activists and the people on the sidelines, black and white, who were compelled to make difficult choices to challenge or comply with heinous social customs. He follows the case of a black truck driver killed by the Klan in 1957, against the backdrop of the growing civil rights movement. Drawing on news archives, interviews, and personal accounts, he recalls the individuals who resisted and those who exploited racism, among them George Wallace. Greenhaw recalls Wallace’s wily use of racism to promote his political career and rise to governor and his later conversion to civil rights advocate. Photographs enhance this record of the complex history of race and politics in the South. --Vanessa Bush

Review

"[The book] does more than take you behind the picket lines, along the dark country roads and under the white hoods of the civil rights struggle. It takes you inside its very skin, and inside the South's broken heart."  —Rick Bragg, author, All Over But the Shoutin' and Ava's Man



“Wayne Greenhaw writes about civil rights with a journalist’s skills, the ease of a natural-born storyteller, an insider’s perspective, and a sensitive Southerner’s understanding. He was there during the quintessential events of the modern movement, and now you can be too. I recommend it.” —Julian Bond, civil rights leader and former chairman of the NAACP


“Wayne Greenhaw has long been the dean of Alabama journalism--the oracle for visiting national reporters in search of The Story. It’s no surprise, then, that his account of the progressives who took on the state’s racist status quo is authoritative, intimate, and gripping. A valuable addition to the civil rights bibliography.” —Diane McWhorter, author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama; The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution



“Wayne Greenhaw’s book is very nearly indispensable for people who study the South. This is an Alabama story, but it spreads far beyond its hearth and home.” —Roy Reed, former reporter for the New York Times



“[This is] the dramatic story of the brave, determined black and white Southerners who took on the haters in Alabama and, against all odds, turned the tide against them. It is an intimate, knowledgeable and overdue account, heartening in its reminder that it is as possible as it is necessary to confront and overcome evil in your own backyard.” —Hodding Carter III, journalist, politician, and educator



"Fighting the Devil in Dixie is a major addition to the historic literature of the Southern Civil Rights movement. As an Alabama journalist, Wayne Greenhaw was an eye witness to events that changed America. With this book, he richly fulfills Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s teaching that we must all bear witness for justice." —Howell Raines, author of My Soul is Rested



“This is such a fresh take on the civil rights struggle. Wayne Greenhaw grew up living and then covering all of this, reporting the good fight then, and now memorably documenting it in this wonderful book.” —Paul Stekler, director, George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire



"Combin[es] personal memories with a wealth of sources . . . [this book] chronicles one of the great victories in America's ongoing struggle for social justice."  —BookPage

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Greenhaw's book should be required reading.
Richard Hutton
This is a well written and well researched account of a fascinating aspect of the Civil Rights movement.
Elizabeth F. Cork
I found this book very well written and a captivating read.
Gary Ward

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Penny Duff on May 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Having grown up during the civil rights movement, and having a special place in my heart for the movement and its people, I've read a great deal on the subject. Wayne Greenhaw has written one of the most interesting and lively chronicles published to date. He is clearly intimately familiar with many of the principles in this fight, and it adds a vigor not found in books purely the product of research, no matter how thorough. He understands clearly the place of Martin Luther King, Jr., but also seems to understand that we need to hear about some of the other stars of this movement. This book presents fresh information, a fresh approach, and is much more than worth the time to read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. C Sheehy on March 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A lot of books regarding the Civil Rights movement tell the story through the lens of how the civil rights movement was worked through the NAACP and giants like Martin Luther King and Ralph Albernathy. Wayne Greenhaw does an excellent job of examining the role played by the lesser known members of the movement. He examines the roles of the "bad" guys who fought to keep segregation in place and how they were eventually defeated, as much by the righteousness of their cause as well as by the laws that were passed.

You get a real sense of danger from the excellent writing of these stories. This book is full of heroes that it is hard to find a since episode which stands out among the many. Wayne Greenhaw deserves credit as well for showing that the Civil Right's battle was not simply north versus south but that good southern men and women of all races helped to defeat the evil which was segregation. This is a great read for telling the story of a lesser known part of American history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth F. Cork on January 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a well written and well researched account of a fascinating aspect of the Civil Rights movement. It is also a very good read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Luke Killion on August 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Fighting the Devil in Dixie" by Wayne Greenshaw is a highly informative collection of profiles focusing on Alabama's most prominent figures during the battle for civil rights. This book is a great historical examination of a volatile period of American history, done through individual chapters that read very much like contributions to magazine, rather than a straight work that builds on a single line of thought throughout the length of the book.

All the pieces center on major players in Alabama's civil rights struggle who were contemporaries; there are many instances where Greenshaw weaves the lives of each persona together (as they often work in concert), yet the book could be picked up at any chapter and the information would be completely coherent. For some readers, who like to read a chapter here or there this could be a plus, but for a work that builds themes in a single story line, this book feels a little patchy and reads more like a collection of separate articles rather than a full length book.

That said, this book is still almost three hundred dense pages; there is a huge volume of information that Greenshaw collected during his tenure working as a reporter for a Montgomery newspaper during the 50's 60s, and 70's, the most contentious years of the civil rights struggle. As a journalist, Greenshaw is amazingly thorough; there is rarely a stone left unturned in his coverage of the clean up of Alabama's systemic legal and politcal corruption.

This feat was mainly accomplished through the collaboration of lawyers, civil rights activists and brave African American religious figures, the most well known being Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lo Lo on March 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This was a truly great book. I began it on a Saturday night and finished on Sunday night. Would have finished it sooner, but my family insisted I feed and talk to them, (needy group)
It takes a serious subject, and makes it come alive. Filled with people who made the world change.Felt like I was there, it was so well written.
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By Dystopos on January 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
We're very lucky that Mr Greenhaw, who covered all of this ground as a journalist, has taken the time and care to produce a succinct but comprehensive review of the battlefield that was Civil Rights work in Alabama in the mid-to-late 20th century. Very few people would have the resources to revisit the pockets of this story that haven't already been mythologized. Fewer still have the skills to weave them into a compelling narrative, full of unforgettable word-portraits that the author has sketched from life.

For readers too young to have lived through these times, the truth is more complicated, and quite a bit uglier, than we've been told. But it is the kind of truth that can't be ignored and must be confronted head on. Greenhaw has a firm grasp on the big picture and gives us precisely that opportunity. It's our responsibility to take it.
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Format: Hardcover
Fighting the Devil in Dixie chronicles the civil rights movement in Alabama that I read about as a teenager in Oklahoma. From that distance, it was hard for me to grasp what was really happening across the South, until the church bombing and the deaths of the little girls. But if it was difficult for those of us who lived through that time, it must be even harder for people younger than I to understand the realities of the era...and thus, they don't "get" that today's realities, especially the social issues faced by economically disadvantaged African-Americans, are what they are...for good reasons...emanating from generations of systemic deprivations borne by their ancestors. Greenhaw's book should be required reading. What happened in Alabama and other parts of the South, should never be forgotten.
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