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Fighting the Devil in Dixie: How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  40 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Shortly after the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Ku Klux Klan--determined to keep segregation as the way of life in Alabama--staged a resurgence, and the strong-armed leadership of governor George C. Wallace, who defied the new civil rights laws, empowered the Klan's most violent members. As Wallace’s power grew, however, blacks began fighting back in the court ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Chicago Review Press
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Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
At least once a week I join the writer of this book for a roundtable at the only bar that matters in Montgomery, Alabama, El Rey Burrito Lounge. Two-dozen books into a 40+ year career, Wayne remains an inspiration to us. This latest book of his is a fascinating history of players in the Civil Rights movement and its aftermath who don't often get their due. From the 1957 murder of Willie Edwards through the men and women whose investigative reporting kept the abuses of segregation in the public e ...more
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fight-the-power
Good book. At times it goes into more detail than I can process; I end up skimming paragraphs until the writing comes back to the main narrative.

The subject matter makes me so angry, though, that I am unable to finish it.
Patrick Sprunger
Not quite what I was expecting. While the author contains his study to the state of Alabama, he doesn't adhere very closely to his thesis of pitting civil rights activists against the Ku Klux Klan. I'm conflicted over my feelings about Fighting the Devil in Dixie - partly because I can't tell exactly what it is.

It isn't a typical history of the civil rights movement, because key events are omitted (Little Rock, AR; Raleigh, NC; Oxford, MS; Albany, GA) - but that may be due to the fact the autho
Dewin Anguas Barnette
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. It was like ten books of information in one it was so in depth. I also appreciated that it referenced so many people, books, and movies for additional study. This is definitely the most thorough and informative book on the Civil Rights Movement that I have read thus far.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Wayne Greenhaw, who begins with the admission that his own "kin" marched in Ku Klux Klan parades, is a journalist who documents the historic hatred in his home state of Alabama which led to atrocious beatings and killings of black citizens and to a church bombing which killed four little black girls getting ready for Sunday school and blinding a fifth. The book concludes with court victories by the Southern Poverty Law Center against KKK killers and the transformation of once racist Gov. ...more
Rian Nejar
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, history, social
Gripping, overwhelming in detail, and narrated as only a seasoned journalist can, Fighting the Devil in Dixie is a no-holds-barred recounting of the gradual and inevitable victory of conscience and humanity over selfishness and insufferable oppression in Alabama. It is a historical accounting of Civil Rights struggle in a state where a politician's cry of "Segregation forever!" rallied the populace.

Wayne Greenhaw writes in an engaging, impersonal style. His intimate familiarity with events in A
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Rather than the big moments, this work by an Alabama journalist follows the many small, principled acts of attrition by ordinary people against the Klan--local bankers, barbers, morticians, newspaper editors, bail bondsmen, city clerks and creative strategies like getting property as damages in civil suits and, to my great delight, Morris Dees raising the original monies for the SPLC by marketing "Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers" through unwitting white Future Farmers of America fund ...more
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's crucial to remember the Civil Rights Movement and the brutal racism that made it necessary. We can't forget. Those with eyes to see and ears to hear couldn't forget if they tried since racism and hate is still so endemic. Hate must be fought continuously both in our society and within ourselves.
Miles DeMott
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great compilation of names and stories from the Civil Rights struggle.
Jamie Miles
Sep 11, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

Required reading for anyone who wants to understand the events painted on the evening news. Buy this as a holiday gift for someone you love !
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(Charles Morgan, Jr., Southern Director of the ACLU in 1966, upon seeing conditions in the Jefferson County jail):

...I knew that [Southern whites] would have annihilated blacks had they been more literate and less useful. In Hitler's Germany armbands identified Jews. Those with black skin could have been annihilated more easily. But they were the labor pool with which to break strikes. They served as the pickers of cotton, the diggers of ditches. They emptied bedpans and cleaned the outhouses of our lives. Uneducated, property-less, disenfranchised, and excluded from justice, except as defendants, they were no threat to whites. While they remained useful and didn't get 'out of line,' their lives were assured, for no matter how worthless lower-class white folks said blacks were, the rich, well born, and able upper-class whites knew that they and black folks were really the only people indispensably required by Our Southern Way of Life. (188)”
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