Fighting the Devil in Dixie: How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama (Hardcover)
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 courthouses and schoolhouses, as did young southern lawyers like Charles "Chuck" Morgan, who became the ACLU's southern director; Morris Dees, who cofounded the Southern Poverty Law Center; and Bill Baxley, Alabama attorney general, who successfully prosecuted the bomber of Birmingham's Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and legally halted some of Wallace's agencies designed to slow down integration. "Fighting the Devil in Dixie" is the first book to tell this story in full, from the Klan's kidnappings, bombings, and murders of the 1950s to Wallace running for his fourth term as governor in the early 1980s, asking forgiveness and winning with the black vote.
About the Author
The author of dozens of pieces of short fiction, four novels, and numerous works of non-fiction, Greenhaw began writing as a teenager shortly after he spent months in a children's clinic undergoing spinal surgery much like Thomas Morgan Reed in The Spider's Web. At the University of Alabama, Greenhaw studied creative writing under legendary professor Hudson Strode. He also attended the writing center at Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Greenhaw's first novel, The Golfer, was published in 1968 by J.B. Lippincott Company when the author was twenty-eight years old. Greenhaw is also author of several stage plays and a screenplay of his novel The Long Journey. He lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with his wife, Sally.
"[The book] does more than take you behind the picket lines, along the dark country roads and under the white hoods of the civil rights struggle. It takes you inside its very skin, and inside the South's broken heart." Rick Bragg, author, All Over But the Shoutin' and Ava's Man
Wayne Greenhaw writes about civil rights with a journalist’s skills, the ease of a natural-born storyteller, an insider’s perspective, and a sensitive Southerner’s understanding. He was there during the quintessential events of the modern movement, and now you can be too. I recommend it.” Julian Bond, civil rights leader and former chairman of the NAACP
Wayne Greenhaw has long been the dean of Alabama journalism--the oracle for visiting national reporters in search of The Story. It’s no surprise, then, that his account of the progressives who took on the state’s racist status quo is authoritative, intimate, and gripping. A valuable addition to the civil rights bibliography.” Diane McWhorter, author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama; The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution
Wayne Greenhaw’s book is very nearly indispensable for people who study the South. This is an Alabama story, but it spreads far beyond its hearth and home.” Roy Reed, former reporter for the New York Times
[This is] the dramatic story of the brave, determined black and white Southerners who took on the haters in Alabama and, against all odds, turned the tide against them. It is an intimate, knowledgeable and overdue account, heartening in its reminder that it is as possible as it is necessary to confront and overcome evil in your own backyard.” Hodding Carter III, journalist, politician, and educator
"Fighting the Devil in Dixie is a major addition to the historic literature of the Southern Civil Rights movement. As an Alabama journalist, Wayne Greenhaw was an eye witness to events that changed America. With this book, he richly fulfills Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s teaching that we must all bear witness for justice." Howell Raines, author of My Soul is Rested
This is such a fresh take on the civil rights struggle. Wayne Greenhaw grew up living and then covering all of this, reporting the good fight then, and now memorably documenting it in this wonderful book.” Paul Stekler, director, George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire
"Combin[es] personal memories with a wealth of sources . . . [this book] chronicles one of the great victories in America's ongoing struggle for social justice." BookPage