From Publishers Weekly
In the summer of 1961, Brewster, a white seminary student from the North, worked at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where both Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr. were pastors. In this moving memoir, he recalls his first encounters with Atlanta's segregated restrooms, restaurants and public swimming pools, and describes finding the spontaneous church services of the black Baptist tradition both unnerving and energizing. When local white ministers didn't embrace Brewster's idea of setting up meetings between black and white church youth groups, Brewster's eyes were opened about the intransigent racism of ostensibly moderate white clergy. (Less dramatically, Brewster also learned about that staple of Southern cuisine, grits, during his Atlanta summer.) Brewster's book is valuable not only for the record of his own awakenings, but for the personal anecdotes about King Sr., who emerges as a passionate, wise man with a sense of humor equal to his sense of justice. Though Brewster is not attempting to analyze the Civil Rights movement, he does offer useful insights about the importance of hymnody in black churches' freedom struggle. The prose is uneven; often, Brewster's descriptions are vivid and energetic, but occasionally he lapses into didactic clichés (I was shaken. This experience would change my life.). On the whole, however, this memoir is engaging and inspiring. (Oct.)
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"What Brewster learned in his summer with the King family, surrounded by an entrenched, segregated society, is insoiring reading."