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Customer Review

on January 7, 2010
The Publishers Weekly review, above, summarizes the book's contents well - and, at the end, notes its one flaw. I've given it 5 stars because it needs to be read, especially by those too young to recall the '40s-'60s on which it primarily focuses.
The authors aren't outsiders, they are Mississippians, born and bred, who clearly love their homeland - and revile its dark history of racism. This book is especially compelling precisely because they lived through the dark years and witnessed some of the events they describe and talked to many of the people involved.
More than 40 years later, I still recall my first trip across Mississippi - in the summer of '66 - and the actual foreboding I felt, as one with out-of-state plates, as I passed the Welcome to Mississippi sign. I was only passing through, but I recalled too vividly the murders of Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman - and countless others. I remembered that even as searchers looked for the bodies of the three men, they inadvertantly discovered the mutilated bodies of other victims of those years. I knew that those who wanted to preserve what they called Mississippi Values were burning countless black churches - 54 of them, Alston and Dickerson report, just in 1964-'65, the years preceding my trip. 54 churches!!!
Clearly much has changed - and for the better - over the years. Philadelphia, Miss., where Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman were killed, has just elected a black sheriff. But the past lingers. The authors remind us that just a few years ago, in 2005, when the U.S. Senate passed a resolution of apology for never having passed a federal anti-lynching law, 15 senators, all Republicans, including ex-Majority Leader Trent Lott of Miss. voted against it.
This book needs to be read. We must move ahead, but we must not forget.
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