Carry Me Home: Book summary and reviews of Carry Me Home by Diane McWhorter

Carry Me Home

Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution

By Diane McWhorter

Carry Me Home
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2001,
    700 pages.

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Book Summary

"The Year of Birmingham," 1963, was one of the most cataclysmic periods in America's long civil rights struggle. That spring, King's child demonstrators faced down Commissioner Bull Connor's police dogs and fire hoses in huge nonviolent marches for desegregation -- a spectacle that seemed to belong more in the Old Testament than in twentieth-century America. A few months later, Ku Klux Klansmen retaliated with dynamite, bombing the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and killing four young black girls. Yet these shocking events also brought redemption: They transformed the halting civil rights movement into a national cause and inspired the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which abolished legal segregation once and for all.

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Book Awards

  • award image Pulitzer Prize for Letters, Drama and Music, 2002

Reviews

Media Reviews

"McWhorter's prominence and her willingness to name names as well as her exhaustive research and skillful narrative virtually guarantee major review attention." - PW

"McWhorter's literate, often barbed, well-referenced local history with a family twist is a feat of reporting " - Library Journal

"A dense, detailed, and insightful history. " - Kirkus

This is a big important book, a challenging portrait of an American city at the center of the most significant domestic drama of the 20th century." - Newsweek

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Alice Copeland Brown
Too bad she didn't live it
As a Birmingham child of the 60s, participating in lunch counter integrations, civil rights marches and continual if fruitless letter-writing campaigns, I find some of her interviewees somewhat self-serving in their comments. I was born in segregated Birmingham, and knew no other childhood but one in which the pulpits were screamingly silent on the subject of the evil of segregation, the law of our state. I drank from 'colored' water fountains, expecting to be arrested. I went into a colored bar, and no one would speak to me, terrified of what I could be....the danger I represented as a white woman to black men who had seen too many of their own decorating the limbs of trees for even whistling at a white woman.

When I asked my mother why black people sat on the back of the bus, and why the bus driver would move the colored/white sign back when the bus got crowded, forcing the black people to stand so whites could sit down, she said, "Because that's the way it is".

When I wrote my high school term paper on : "Segregation: the Economic, Psychological and Moral Harm to White People", researching the sociologists on the subject, my classmates would counter every argument on integration and pre-judging people by the color of their skin with "Because they stink!!!". And despite integration, Birmingham has re-segregated: Hoover is the 3rd largest city in Alabama, adjacent to mostly black Birmingham dur to white flight. To where? Hoover, Al.

The resentment to Pres. Obama is fueled by deep-seated hatred and feelings of inferiority from my fellow white Southerners. All the while saying: "Jesus loves you and me" (so long as you're white).

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