A Fast Walk Through a Long History: A Summary of the American Civil Rights Struggle from 1619 in Jamestown to 1965 in Selma

A Fast Walk Through a Long History: A Summary of the American Civil Rights Struggle from 1619 in Jamestown to 1965 in Selma

by Horace Randall Williams


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A Fast Walk Through a Long History is a brisk but richly informative retelling of our civil rights history, originally prepared for inclusion in History Refused to Die: The Enduring Legacy of the African American Art of Alabama (Tinwood Books, 2015). In just 8,000 words, the essay presents a powerful telescopic view of the legacies of slavery and segregation, which the author traces back to back to the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619. These first African Americans—literally—may have had status somewhat similar to European indentured servants already in the colonies, but soon the Africans’ skin color and the greed for cheap labor would consign them and their descendants to chattel slavery until the end of the Civil War. Post-war Reconstruction brought a brief moment of hope for equality, but these hopes were dashed by white supremacist terrorism abetted by politics and economics. Then followed a century of Jim Crow segregation, which was finally overcome—legally at least—in the 1950s and 1960s. The victories of civil rights and voting rights were the result of decades of black-led organizing, resistance, legal actions, and activism in communities across the nation but especially in the Deep South states. Alabama was at the center of this movement from 1955 to 1975. No brief essay can provide a comprehensive understanding of the African American freedom struggle, but A Fast Walk Through a Long History offers its readers a helpful perspective on the interconnectedness of the signal events, which continue to shape our national identity even today.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603064347
Publisher: NewSouth Books
Publication date: 01/01/2018
Pages: 36
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 0.30(h) x 0.20(d)

About the Author

Horace Randall Williams is the editor-in-chief of NewSouth Books, which he co-founded with publisher Suzanne La Rosa in 2000. Since 1989, he has edited, published, and/or co-published more than 700 titles, which is believed to be more than any other general trade book editor and publisher in Alabama history. Under his own name, he’s also the author, co-author, or editor of a dozen books. Before book publishing, he was a reporter, editor, and publisher for newspapers and magazines, and he worked a decade at the Southern Poverty Law Center, where he was the founding director of the Klanwatch Project. He is also the founder of the Capri Community Film Society, a graduate of Leadership Montgomery, and for more than two decades was a board member of the Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization originally created to coordinate the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955–56. He’s a native of LaFayette, Alabama, a graduate of Samford University, and lives in Montgomery, Alabama.

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