Speak Now Against the Day by John Egerton
The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South (Chapel Hill Books)

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Synopsis

Speak Now Against the Day is the astonishing, little-known story of the Southerners who, in the generation before the Supreme Court outlawed school segregation and before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat on a Montgomery bus, challenged the validity of a white ruling class and a “separate but equal” division of the races.
 
The voices of the dissenters,  although present throughout the South’s troubled history, grew louder with Roosevelt’s election in 1932. An increasing number of men and women who grappled daily with the economic and social woes of the South began forcefully and courageously to speak and to work toward the day when the South—and the nation—would deliver on the historic promises in the country’s founding documents. This is the story of those brave prophets—thhe ministers, writers, educators, journalists, social activists, union members, and politicians, black and white, who pointed the way to higher ground.
 
Published forty years after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling of the Supreme Court, this compelling book is not only a rich trove of forgotten history—it also speaks profoundly to us in the context of today’s continuing racial and social conflict.

 

About John Egerton

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John Egerton, an independent nonfiction writer, has written extensively on his native South. His books include"The Americanization of Dixie" and "Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History". He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
 
Published August 28, 2013 by Knopf. 704 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Speak Now Against the Day

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Egerton's examination of the South in the period immediately preceding the civil rights movement is less history through group biography than history through cameo appearance.

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Egerton, author of several books on Southern culture and history (Generations), has put together a sprawling history of the South from 1932 to 1954-the Depression to the landmark Brown desegregation decision.

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Egerton's account of the early struggle for desegregation in the South starts in the Depression and ends in the mid-'50s with the historic Brown vs.

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