Back to Mississippi by Mary Winstead
A Personal Journey Through the Events that Changed America in 1964

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Synopsis

Mary Winstead grew up in Minneapolis, captivated by her fathers tales of his boyhood in rural Mississippi. As a child, she visited her relatives down South, and her nostalgia for that world and its people would compel her to collect her fathers stories for her own children. But Winsteads research into her family history led her to a series of horrifying revelations: about her relatives ingrained racism, their involvement with the Klan, and their connection to the infamous 1964 murders of three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney.Writing with dignity, humility, and a profound sense of time and place, Winstead chronicles her awakening to painful truths about people she loved and thought she knew. She profiles her father, a man of remarkable charm and secretiveness. She traces her familys roots through post-Civil War poverty, Southern pride, and Jim Crow laws, exploring racism on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Most movingly, she details her own inner war, a battle between her love for her family and their untenable beliefs and practices.
 

About Mary Winstead

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Mary teaches English and creative writing in Minneapolis. She has been the recipient of the Edelstein-Keller Fellowship and the McKnight Artist's Fellowship.
 
Published August 1, 2002 by Hyperion. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Back to Mississippi

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On learning her family’s secrets, she writes, she was tempted to revise the past in her relatives’ favor: “My desire to be approved of, embraced, and loved was so strong that I found myself rewriting passages, doubting conversations I’d heard, feeling guilty for breaking promises that, upon refle...

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Publishers Weekly

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He did not talk to Winstead for this book.) Winstead's colorless retelling of growing up in Minneapolis during the 1950s and '60s, with occasional trips to visit her father's Mississippi family, suggests comparison with Diane McWhorter's Carry Me Home (2001).

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