Opening the Doors: The Desegregation of the University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa (Hardback)B. J. Hollars (author)
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Whereas E. Culpepper Clark's The Schoolhouse Door remains the standard history of the University of Alabama's desegregation, in Opening the Doors B. J. Hollars focuses on Tuscaloosa's purposeful divide between "town" and "gown," providing a new contextual framework for this landmark period in civil rights history.
The image of George Wallace's stand in the schoolhouse door has long burned in American consciousness; however, just as interesting are the circumstances that led him there in the first place, a process that proved successful due to the concerted efforts of dedicated student leaders, a progressive university president, a steadfast administration, and secret negotiations between the U.S. Justice Department, the White House, and Alabama's stubborn governor.
In the months directly following Governor Wallace's infamous stand, Tuscaloosa became home to a leader of a very different kind: twenty-eight-year-old African American reverend T. Y. Rogers, an up-and-comer in the civil rights movement, as well as the protege of Martin Luther King Jr. After taking a post at Tuscaloosa's First African Baptist Church, Rogers began laying the groundwork for the city's own civil rights movement. In the summer of 1964, the struggle for equality in Tuscaloosa resulted in the integration of the city's public facilities, a march on the county courthouse, a bloody battle between police and protesters, confrontations with the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, a bus boycott, and the near-accidental-lynching of movie star Jack Palance.
Relying heavily on new firsthand accounts and personal interviews, newspapers, previously classified documents, and archival research, Hollars's in-depth reporting reveals the courage and conviction of a town, its university, and the people who call it home.
Publisher: The University of Alabama Press
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 612 g
Dimensions: 231 x 155 x 30 mm
"B.J. Hollars has written an important, fascinating, and timely book about the desegregation era."--Winston Groom, author of Shiloh, 1862; The Crimson Tide: The Official Illustrated History of Alabama Football, National Championship Edition; Vicksburg, 1863; and Forrest Gump
"Through its clear, journalistic style and logical structure, Opening the Doors tells a story that has been relevant since America's founding and continues to be relevant today."--The Los Angeles Review
"This is a serious, high-minded, thoroughly researched piece of work by a very capable writer. The most important contribution of this book is to place the nationally symbolic story of the University of Alabama's desegregation in the same context with the intense local struggle for civil rights that was taking place concurrently in Tuscaloosa, which is almost entirely overlooked in much of the civil rights literature. Hollars's book goes a long way toward addressing that oversight and thus tells a story that most readers will find unfamiliar, yet intriguing."--Frye Gaillard, author of Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement that Changed America and Alabama's Civil Rights Trail: An Illustrated Guide to the Cradle of Freedom
"Opening the Doors is an insistence upon the long second look. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, becomes not that racist southern town trying to keep the blacks out of its university, but instead, and deservedly, a complicated city and people in the throes of social change. A city of multiplicities." --The Colorado Review