In STROM, Jack Bass and Marilyn W. Thompson deliver a remarkable look at the life of a remarkable-and complicated-politician. First elected to public office in 1929, Strom Thurmond was a pivotal figure in the nation's politics for more than seven decades particularly when it came to issues of race: the Dixiecrat presidential candidate in 1948, originator of the 1956 "Southern Manifesto" against the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, holder of the record for a Senate filibuster for his opposition to the 1957 Civil Rights Bill. Yet as a young man Thurmond had secretly fathered a daughter with the family's black maid, and quietly supported her through college and beyond.
An intense public examination of Thurmond's legacy began when he left the Senate at age 100, continued when he passed away soon after and only grew when Essie Mae Washington-Williams announced in December 2003 that she was the senator's long-rumored black daughter.
Bass and Thompson know Strom better than anyone. They both covered him for years and broke the big stories. In STROM, they tell us a great deal about power and politics in our nation and race's twisted roots in the 20th century South.
Thrust into the center of a raging storm over civil rights, Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., handed down a series of precedent-setting decisions that would profoundly influence America’s future. Martin Luther King, Jr., said Johnson “gave true meaning to the word ‘justice’.”
Winner of Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.
On February 8, 1968, police gunfire left three young men dying and 27 wounded on the campus of South Carolina State College in Orangeburg. Unlike at Kent State two years later, the students at Orangeburg were black, and the shooting occurred at night, leaving no compelling TV images. What happened barely penetrated the nation’s consciousness.
"An engrossing look at the real Southern heroes of the '60s - the judges of the Fifth Circuit who championed the cause of Civil Rights through their court decisions." - History Book Club
"The best history of the civil rights movement I’ve read."
By Jack Bass and Walter Devries
The authors show that each southern state has a distinctive political character and style, though all are linked by a common history that includes a plantation tradition based on slavery and a unique American experience of a history that includes wartime defeat and devastation.