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Ever Is A Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi's Dark Past A Memoir

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  83 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Like the renowned classics Praying for Sheetrock and North Toward Home , Ever Is a Long Time captures the spirit and feel of a small Southern town divided by racism and violence in the midst of the Civil Rights era. Part personal journey, part social and political history, this extraordinary book reveals the burden of Southern history and how that burden is carried even to ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 25th 2003 by Basic Books
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Paul Pellicci
Oct 29, 2009 Paul Pellicci rated it it was amazing
Shelves: race
It is right to show your children where their father's home was, where he was raised and what it was like. The history of our families must not be lost or taken for granted. The author has written a book which is easy to read but hard to take.

This story is a glimpse into a world influenced by racism. How it manipulated people's lives. How it determined the fate of so many innocent, clean living Americans. It's embarrassing.
Jun 25, 2008 Justin rated it really liked it
I really liked this memoir. Eubanks writes about his experiences growing up in Mississippi and his subsequent trips back when researching the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission.

He writes without bitterness or anger. Even though he would be justified to be bitter and angry. He does not set out to point fingers but instead to try to understand the past and where we have been. I think he knows that we must do that before we can understand who we are and how we move forward.
Dec 19, 2009 Julie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
I am only on Page 20 and already this book has me 'hooked'. Let's see how it ends up.

Well I just finished reading the book. What a wonderful book; it intertwines growing up black in Mt. Olive, MS during the Civil Rights Reform era with a history lesson on MS's historical political support for segregation, especially the Sovereignty Commission.

I grew up in the sixties and admit I have learned more about the Civil Rights Movement and segregation through reading history books then I ever did as a
Mississippi Library Commission
"A siege mentality had taken hold of Mississippi, so informants both black and white made the Commission's members investigate anything and everything that might smell of integration, even something so trivial as a black man fishing in a public park on land normally reserved for the white man."

If you're not from Mississippi, you may not have heard of the Sovereignty Commission. From 1956-1973, this KGB-like, state-run agency policed and spied upon Mississippians. It was an omniscient and pervasi
Melody Schreiber
Oct 05, 2010 Melody Schreiber rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, dc-books
W. Ralph Eubanks prefaces his first book with his son’s innocent question: “Daddy, what’s Mississippi like?” Eubanks finds himself torn between protecting his children from the harsh truth of segregation, as his parents attempted to do in his own childhood, and educating them on the bittersweet struggle for civil rights.

Over a period of several months, Eubanks debates how much of his past he should reveal to his children. He recalls his warm, sheltered childhood, but contrasts it against the tur
Feb 05, 2017 Callie rated it liked it
The majority of this boo a solid 4 stars. I had never heard of the Sovereignty Commission, which I find strange since I lived in Mississippi most of my life and took a couple of Mississippi history courses. I liked discovering the files with Eubanks and I especially loved the interviews he did with those who were involved in the commission at the time. One interview was even with a former KKK member. That takes a lot of courage for black man from Mississippi to do.
The parts that fell flat for me
Rosa Cline
This was a wonderfully written book by a man whom grew up in Mississippi and wrote about his childhood and how because his parents 'shielded' him and his siblings he didn't know all the things going on within his own county-state. He was involved with segregation in his school and often was an only black child in a class... but through out his retelling of Mississippi history this book isn't written in negative way. Or with hard feelings by him. For someone like me, that grew up in the mid to la ...more
Carol E.
Mar 25, 2014 Carol E. rated it liked it
Eubanks grew up in Mississippi. He was very young during the Civil Rights movement and so was only slightly aware of what was going on around him. Eubanks met Medgar Evers when he, Eubanks, was only 5 years old, for example. It wasn't until years later that he realized the importance of some of his early experiences.

When he grew up and left Mississippi, Eubanks had fond memories of the farm and the town where he grew up, having been mostly happy during those years.

Of course, as an adult Eubanks
Aug 02, 2011 Topher rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eubanks's story is compelling and demonstrates how complex the negotiation of racial hatred in Mississippi in the 1960's could be. While he grew up largely shielded from and outside of the political racial malestrom that was the South during the Civil Rights era, he was thrust onto the scene when Mississippi was forced to finally comply with what now seems like the basic human right of integration in public schools...this some 12 years after Brown vs. Board of Education! Throughout Eubanks' stor ...more
Jul 30, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it
The author seeks to come to terms with the Mississippi he enjoyed as a child and the Mississippi of the Civil Rights era during his childhood. This is a mixture of memoir and social and political history. A powerful story that is heartfelt and poignantly told.

His father was a black county agent and his mother was a schoolteacher and Ralph grew up on an eighty-acre farm on the outskirts of Mount Olive, Mississippi during the '60s. During that era, churches were burned, Medgar Evers and Martin Lu
Jan 10, 2010 RYCJ rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dynamic-reads
It's a stretch reading this account in a long time ago sequence, when the sequence of events still conjures so much remembrance, and values, and even a reworked system of beliefs and perspectives (albeit, not all negative) that I'd rather learn from, than turn away from. The mannerisms and culture I've come into contact with befriending people as refined as the Eubanks', who lived and lives in Mississippi, probes my mind wanting to know where these auspiciously well-bred customs derived. And hon ...more
Audrey Terry
I have mixed feeling about this book... It was assigned to me for a class, and I didn't enjoy reading it. But there's something about either Eubanks' writing style, or the fact that he really focused exclusively on the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission that kept throwing me. There were parts of the book that I was really interested, and then not, and then i'd be interested again....adn then not. This just didn't keep my attention. Which is strange because there are a lot of poignant, strong sto ...more
Dec 19, 2011 Sonja rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was OK. He was mostly interested in the way the South treated/interacted w/African-Americans and the way they were "kept tabs on" during the time of the civil rights' movement and how the South's TV/newspapers media slanted the news by putting out "the truth" as they wanted the people to know it. I would have liked a little more about his family life in the present but that might be asking too much since he was concentrating on one special aspect - the Soverignity Commission of Mississippi.
Feb 11, 2011 Gail rated it liked it
This was a thoughtful memoir about growing up in Mississippi in the 60's. He remembers his family and town rather fondly, but investigates the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, which was a state FBI, investigating anyone who posed a threat to segregation. In spite of being quite non-political, his parents were on lists that the commission kept. He finds out information about those in his town who were informants for the commission. Basically, he writes about the process of reconstructing his c ...more
Apr 04, 2015 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartfelt memoir of the author's childhood in segregated Mississippi. His parents managed to create a kind of protective bubble so that he was not directly exposed to the worst of the racism and turmoil around him in the 1950's and 60's. Very eye-opening for me, to understand just how restrictive, oppressive, and threatening life must have been for the average African American in that time and place.
Todd Kalinski
Dec 20, 2015 Todd Kalinski rated it it was amazing
It's never easy, one would suppose, to write about a childhood growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, especially in Mississippi, and being a black man. A truly "stunning and sensitive read," coming from a man who once sat on the lap of Medgar Evers as a child. And what has often been said about this memoir is its lack of bitterness. That takes strength, courage, belief and a lot of balls.
Sep 08, 2010 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
As heard on the NPR Books podcast.
Jan 19, 2013 Emma rated it liked it
Boring. Very little actually happens to Ralph Eubanks so it ends up being more like a history book than a memoir.
Nov 17, 2013 jane rated it it was ok
A short history by a black son of Mississippi including his sheltered childhood, and adolescence during the first years of school integration.
Sep 26, 2013 Deborah rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Some parts of the book were enlightening. Some parts were just personal. I suppose the book was just not what I was expecting.
Chelsea rated it liked it
Apr 07, 2013
Emmaline rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2008
Sharon Bender
Sharon Bender rated it really liked it
Mar 19, 2011
Nikki rated it really liked it
Apr 27, 2015
angie phillips
angie phillips rated it really liked it
Dec 21, 2015
Becky rated it it was ok
Jul 17, 2011
Rosa Cline
Rosa Cline rated it really liked it
Dec 28, 2014
Martha rated it really liked it
May 04, 2012
Kate rated it liked it
Nov 15, 2007
Stephanie Fentress
Stephanie Fentress rated it liked it
Jan 07, 2015
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W. Ralph Eubanks is author of Ever is a Long Time: A Journey into Mississippis Dark Past, which Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named as one of the best nonfiction books of 2003. Eubanks has contributed articles to The Washington Post Outlook and Style sections, the Chicago Tribune, Preservation, The American Scholar, and National Public Radio. He is a recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim F ...more
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