Al's 8-8-07 Post cont...

The face of racisim, Sept. 27, 1962, Oxford, Mississippi

More on Paul Hendrickson

When he's at ACU (see my previous post), Paul Hendrickson will speak about his book that won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2000, Sons of Mississippi. In this book he delved into the lives of seven Southern sheriffs who were shown in a famous Life magazine photo gathered around one of their number who gestured with a billy club. The shot was taken the day before James Meredith with federal protection enrolled at Ole Miss in 1962.

This book is a beautifully written extended meditation on the photo, fleshed out with research. You can read it for the quality of the prose alone. Yet it is the story that matters as Hendrickson travels through Mississippi on a mission to find out what's changed and what's not changed between the races. It's in part the story of civil rights told from the oppressor's side, as appalling as that is at times. What comes through again and again is that evil is never total darkness through and through, nor is it walking around sprouting horns from its head. Evil actually goes to church and takes care of town widows (white ones) and bails people out of debt (fellow whites) and is well thought of in the community (white). Evil is a part-time profession that has full-time effects and, more than ever, I think any one of us but by the grace of God could be engaged in it.


Well, I've been a blog hog, so let me duck out of here before I take up more time and space. I do look forward to reading about the experiences the rest of you have been having (new baby! Flannery O'Connor's old home! cancer free!). This is fine stuff that's been posted so far and I look forward to more to come...

1 comment:

Debra Rienstra said...

Delightful, Al. I'm jealous of your doggie.