Southern Journey by Tom Dent
A Return to the Civil Rights Movement

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More than twenty years after the civil rights movement, one question still lingers: What significant changes, if any, have resulted from its efforts? In search of the answer, author Tom Dent takes us on a unique journey through the contemporary South, revisiting the places where protesters and their supporters took a stand for equality.

Dent interviews blacks, whites, civil rights workers, and just plain folks about the sit-ins, student demonstrations, and protests that shaped the Movement. In their own words, the participants discuss the impressions these events left on their communities.

Dent's journey becomes a personal one as well, as he examines the role the Movement has played in his own life. Raised "a black youth in New Orleans one generation before the legal obstructions that delineated racial segregation in the South were dismantled piece by piece," he was encouraged by his family to seek his fortune outside the South but soon returned home. With Southern Journey, Dent takes readers on a trip through the South and into the past, visiting:

-- The F.W. Woolworth store in Greensboro, North Carolina, where sit-down strikes in 1960 ignited a new phase of black protest against racial injustice

-- The campus of South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, where, in 1968, one of the most blatantly violent reactions to student demonstrations occurred

-- The Medical College Hospital of South Carolina in (Charleston, where a hospital workers' strike in 1969 addressed the fundamental economic inequalities at the core of the struggle

-- St. Augustine, Florida, where the Southern Christian Leadership Conference led peaceful protests against segregation in 1964

-- Albany, Georgia, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led one of the first mass-movement civil rights efforts in 1962

-- Selma, Alabama, the starting point for Dr. King's 1965 Selma to Montgomery

March, which dramatized the denial of the right to vote Using these smaller towns -- "more interesting, more resistant to change, more reflective of the South as a region" than their larger counterparts -- Dent demonstrates how the civil rights movement continues to make a positive impact on people's lives today, but also learns that the goal of equality hasn't been fully achieved.

Tom Dent invites readers into his beautifully written and accessible discussion by portraying genuine and engaging southern personalities. Southern Journey takes us on a special trip of discovery and hope, letting us see and feel how the historic fight for civil rights still shapes our world today.


About Tom Dent

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Published January 1, 1997 by William Morrow & Co. 400 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Dent (former executive director of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation) not only recounts his 1991 trip across the South, he illuminates the odyssey of the black soul across the second half of the 20th century.

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