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Black and White: The Confrontation between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene 'Bull' Connor

by Larry Dane Brimner

Book list *Starred Review* Bombed, beaten, banned, and imprisoned, Reverend Fred. L. Shuttlesworth led the civil rights struggle for equality in Birmingham, Alabama, using nonviolent action to protest segregation in schools, stores, buses, and the hiring of police officers. He pressed his congregation to register to vote and to cast their ballots for civil rights supporters. Eugene Bull Connor, backed by the Ku Klux Klan, became a symbol of racist hatred and violence as he organized the southern segregationists to rally against Shuttlesworth. With a spacious design that includes archival pictures and primary source documents on almost every page, this accessible photo-essay recounts the events in three sections, which focus first on the preacher, then on the commissioner, and finally, on their confrontation. For readers new to the subject, the biographies will be a vivid, informative introduction, but even those who have some familiarity with the landmark events will learn much more here. Thorough source notes document the sometimes harrowing details and provide opportunities for further research, as does a list of suggested reading. Never simplistic in his depictions, Brimner shows the viewpoints from all sides: some middle-class blacks resented Fred's heavy-handed style fiery, confrontational, dictatorial even if they agreed with the goals; some whites in Birmingham did wish to see an end to segregation, though their voices were drowned out. A penetrating look at elemental national history.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 6 Up-The relative fame of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks tends to obscure other primary, important players in the Civil Rights Movement. One of these was the Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth, a Baptist minister who served churches in Alabama from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. Committed to his belief in the equality of all people before God, he was the driving force in bringing about the integration of Birmingham; and in this endeavor, he had help from a most unexpected source. Eugene "Bull" Connor was the Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety and strong proponent of the city's segregation ordinances. His enforcement techniques were legendary: dogs, fire hoses, brutality. Klan supported and driven by a set of beliefs as strong as, but counter to, Shuttlesworth's, Connor was in large part responsible for turning the tide of public opinion in favor of civil-rights progress. In this highly pictorial book, Brimner limns the characters of both men and the ways in which their belief systems and personalities interacted to eliminate segregation from the Birmingham statutes. Black-and-white pages and red sidebars containing supporting information on topics such as the murder of Emmet Till and Autherine Lucy's attempt to integrate the University of Alabama make this a visually arresting book. The writing style is lively and informative. A brief bibliography, excellent source notes, and a sound index round out this volume, which can stand alongside Russell Freedman's Freedom Walkers (Holiday House, 2006) and Brimner's own Birmingham Sunday (Calkins Creek, 2010) as fine examples of both civil-rights history and photo-biographies.-Ann Welton, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

 

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