Monday, December 21, 2015

Just Another Southern Town: A Review

I love to read. I love history.

Any book combining the two is usually a winner in my book.

I especially like books about American history that bring to life interesting characters or events that may be new to me.

As a self-professed Southern girl, I thought I knew a lot about the Civil Rights movement and segregation. While it is hard for me to wrap my mind around the events of those days, and the rationalizations that many people used during those times, it is interesting to read about the differences between here and now and there and then... and also to consider how things may not have changed as much as we would like.

I am familiar with the stories of Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. As a sports fan, I loved the story lines behind Remember the Titans and Woodlawn.

The courage that those young Americans faced is astounding.

But I had never heard of Mary Church Terrell.  I recently read Just Another Southern Town by Joan Quigley, which chronicles the impact that Terrell had on the Civil Rights movement in Washington, D.C.

Terrell made strides in racial equality before many of the Southern movements that are more well-known. An educated individual, she influenced policy stemming from reactions within the political climate for her day.

I had never thought of Washington D.C. as being a place of racial tension. I had never considered its proximity to Southern states and how that might influence the emotional response to desegregation. Quigley does a good job of explaining why our nation's capital may have initially put up such a fight against integration, specifically chronicled through the battle waged by Terrell against segregated restaurants.

Quigley follows the life of Terrell from her birth to her death. Her book is well-researched, including excerpts from personal documentation of Terrell's. She depicts both personal struggles faced by Terrell and those that were more public, and ends the story with how Terrell's death impacted a nation that honored her by almost forgetting her story.

I would recommend this book to others who are interested in how our nation responded to the Civil Rights movement and integration. It is especially enlightening for those readers who may not be as familiar with the response of Washington D.C. and other cities not in the deep south to issues during this time period.

I give this book 3 stars. My only fault is that at times the story seems a little slow, and the cast of characters included can be overwhelming. The chapters are long and cover more than one event, so it can be confusing... but short chapters are just a preference of this reader.

I received free access to this book through and am posting this review on their website.
Professional Reader

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