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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

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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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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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 (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,092,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
Gripping, overwhelming in detail, and narrated as only a seasoned journalist can, Fighting the Devil in Dixie is a no-holds-barred recounting of the gradual and inevitable victory of conscience and humanity over selfishness and insufferable oppression in Alabama. It is a historical accounting of Civil Rights struggle in a state where a politician's cry of "Segregation forever!" rallied the populace.

Wayne Greenhaw writes in an engaging, impersonal style. His intimate familiarity with events in Alabama, and the civil rights struggle, makes the stories lucid...to the point that reading them brings up deep and unpleasant emotions. I found myself transported into the times, the places, and at times struggled to comprehend, or even recognize, the attitudes and inhumanity of the period. I did skip paragraphs, even pages at times, for the stories are innumerable, and the hate experienced intolerable. One can only imagine the suffering of the oppressed section of the population...ameliorated gradually (perhaps far too gradually) through non-violent methods, by a struggle between the Federal and State courts of America, and by appealing to conscience and humanity. Wayne is to be commended for a comprehensive journalistic work.

Nevertheless, I did feel that the work, through its unbiased reporting, did not offer any hope of intrinsic, spiritual, transformation in populations that lived through the times, places, and events described. I wonder if anything much has changed, even in the present, as evidenced by statistics of prison populations, harsh judgments against minorities, and extra-judicial killing of African American and Hispanic members of citizenry by law enforcement of all states of the United States of America.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once again,the brilliant Wayne Greenhaw, brings to life the struggle for civil rights in our part of the world. This book brings to life the work of little known or unknown warriors who never knew they were warriors. Jack Shows of the Montgomery Police Department did what he was sworn to do and that was uphold the law. I am sure Mr. Shows had no idea that he was a building block in the civil rights movement. It would have been very easy for him to turn his head like other police officers and public officials; but, he continued to do what was right even though there were no early convictions. He continued to arrest and that was part of turning the devil around. Even though I grew up during this era and was very privileged to have met leaders, like Cliff and Virginia Durr, E.D. Nixon, Rufus Lewis and others, every time I read one of Wayne's books, I discover new heroes. There are many untold stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things that they didnt think were extraordinary. Wayne Greenhaw brings them to the forefront and gives them the credit they deserve. For that and his wonderful ability to bring our history to life, Wayne deserves immense credit. These are stories that need to be told; and, I dont believe I know anyone who is more capable than he is to tell them This is a must read. Thank you, Wayne.

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