Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Just Another Southern Town by Joan Quigley

I've read about the sit-ins and boycotts of the civil rights movement, but never heard about the case or the person at the heart of this book, Just Another Southern Town.  Mary Church Terrell was a woman born the same year of the Emancipation Proclamation and lived long enough to help make civil rights history when she was 90 years old. 

The book talks about her and the others, including the Supreme Court justices who made that history in a way that brings them to life in the story leading up to the Supreme Court case, District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co. Inc.  None of them are perfect and Ms. Quigley doesn't present them as saints or sinners.  The book tells the history of the Thompson case in an engaging manner that throws a lot of facts at you, but in such a way that it doesn't overwhelm or bore.  

As I said, I had never heard of the case before and had assumed that desegregation of lunch counters was pretty much an all or nothing thing that had begun with Greensboro in 1960.  I love finding out that I was wrong.  My highest recommendation for any history book if that it has me more interested in a topic I didn't realize I need to know more about and want to investigate more.  This book certainly has done that.

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