From Selma to Sorrow
Fifty years after the murder of Viola Liuzzo by the Ku Klux Klan, she remains an enigma. Some saw her as a dedicated civil rights worker, others as a troubled housewife. Some thought she was a victim of random violence and government conspiracy, while others thought
she was an unfit mother who got what she deserved.
Born and reared in the South, Liuzzo moved to Detroit as an adult. At the time of her death she was married to a high-ranking Teamster and had five children. While a part-time student at Wayne State University she became involved in civil rights protests and decided to participate
in a voting rights march in Selma, Alabama. On March 25, 1965, Liuzzo and a young black man named Leroy Moton were on their way from Selma
to Montgomery after the march. Klansmen followed Liuzzo's car along Highway 80 for twenty miles, then pulled alongside and fired shots. Liuzzo was killed instantly and Moton, covered with her blood, escaped by pretending to be dead when the killers returned.
Because this group of Klansmen included an FBI informant, Liuzzo lost her life in more ways than one. To deflect attention and to cover up his recklessness in permitting a known violent racist to work undercover during the march, J. Edgar Hoover crafted a malicious public relations campaign that unfairly portrayed Liuzzo as an unstable woman who abandoned her family to stir up trouble in the South. The years of unrelenting accusations, innuendos, and lies nearly destroyed her husband and five children. From Selma to Sorrow is a search for the truth about Liuzzo's life and death. It uncovers a startling story of murder, betrayal, and passion.
From Selma To Sorrow was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize 1999
Journey Toward Justice
Journey Toward Justice explores the internal world of Juliette Hampton Morgan, a Montgomery, Alabama librarian. From 1936 to 1957 through the letters she published in Alabama’s major daily newspapers as well as in her essays and private correspondence, Juliette Morgan made some of the most insightful observations on record about Montgomery’s racial crises. As a New Deal Democrat she worked to abolish the poll tax and establish a federal anti-lynching law, and years before the Bus Boycott she confronted city bus drivers over their mistreatment of black riders. She and the newspapers that published her letters to the editor were vilified and threatened by the Klan and the Citizens’ Councils. Morgan took her own life at the age of forty-three. Her passion as a civil rights advocate at the local level demonstrates the costs of speaking out in a highly conformist society.
Freedom Walk chronicles a number of critical events in Alabama immediately before massive civil rights demonstrations that erupted in Birmingham during the summer of 1963. In April Bill Moore, a white mail carrier, staged an independent protest of racial injustice by attempting a solitary walk from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi across Highway 11. Moore planned to hand-deliver an appeal for racial tolerance to Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett in the light of recent riots at the University of Mississippi as black student James Meredith tried to break the racial barrier and register for classes. Two days into his Freedom Walk Moore was shot to death near Attalla, Alabama. A member of the Gadsden Alabama Klan had engaged him in conversation on the road and taken exception to Moore’s atheism. Floyd Simpson was arrested for the murder but despite overwhelming evidence of his guilt an Alabama Grand Jury refused to indict him. One week later five black and five white SNCC and CORE volunteers attempted to complete Moore’s walk and deliver his message. They were arrested in DeKalb County, Alabama and taken to Kilby Prison near Montgomery. Three more attempts were organized to make Moore’s delivery resulting in over five hundred arrests, yet no one ever made it to the governor’s office in Jackson.
The Hand of Esau
The Hand of Esau examines the roles that members of Montgomery, Alabama’s Jewish Community played or failed to play in the 1956 Bus Boycott. It explores why some responded positively to the demand for social justice while others vehemently opposed it. In 1955, when the majority of the local Jewish community ignored the boycott it confounded Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because Northern Jews were his staunchest allies. How the members of Montgomery’s Jewish community dealt with their fears, ambivalence and tensions is the story of their Southern experience.