Jill Guccini's Reviews > Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement
Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement
by Rick Bowers
by Rick Bowers
Really interesting, intense, and enraging story; most of it reinforced things I've been learning about the Civil Rights Movement only recently which I feel should be better educated to all. I feel like most children are taught this narrative: the South was unequal; KKK were scary; Martin Luther King marched on Washington and gave great speeches and then everything was better! Yay! Yet as this book--simplified for children--emphasizes, the history of one state alone is much more complex, and I feel like the names Medgar Evers, Clyde Kennard, and James Meredith, among others--as well as spawns of Satan such as Ross Barnett--should be much more well known to all Americans. The story of the Freedom Riders, including the three who were killed and buried but really the story of all of them, should be taught more. This story also reinforces to me that I will never be a "states rights forever!" person--cases like this showcase the need for federal power. Anyway, as to the actual book, I did have just a few issues--especially in the beginning, I felt like the chapters were disjointed a bit, with each chapter jumping from different topic to different topic that I began to get confused about who was connected to what and how they were all connected together again; at the same time, I understand that there's simply a lot of different stuff to talk about. The main thing was mainly the design--the documents included at the end, as well as the pictures in the middle of the book, were so interesting and integral to making the story "real" that I yearned for them to be included throughout the text, a la the beautiful design of They Called Themselves the KKK. Come on, National Geographic design team, you could do better. To go back to things I liked, I did enjoy the "where they are now/what happened to them" wrap up at the back of the book; it was both interesting (and satisfying, in some cases), and helped jog the reader's memory about everything and everyone they just read about. I also really enjoyed Bowers' last line, talking about the ordinary people who propelled the movement: "Their names--categorized in the files as race agitators, subversives, and communists--live on as champions of the most powerful democratic movement in our history." Indeed.
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