Today, as we say goodbye to civil rights hero Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, we think about how far we’ve come as a nation and community in the struggle for freedom, and how far we still have to go. Birmingham is rich with both tragedy and triumphs from the civil rights era, and it’s important to know our history. We wanted to learn more about Reverend Shuttlesworth, so we asked Cal for a few reading suggestions. He recommended Taylor Branch’s America in the King Years trilogy (Parting the Waters, Pillar of Fire and At Canaan’s Edge) and Diane McWhorter’s Carry Me Home:
Tell us about the King Years books.
“It’s the first one that tired to put all the aspects together, the good things, and the tensions of the government, of the leaders of the movement. It was so great and comprehensive. If you want all the pieces, it’s the best thing I’ve ever read about the civil rights struggle. It is very fact-driven, like a textbook, but for a textbook they’re very readable. I read the three of them back-to-back.”
And Diane McWhorter’s Carry Me Home?
“That’s fabulous,” Cal says. “The tough thing (about the trilogy) is there’s so much information, and very little story. Carry Me Home is more of one person’s story, and it takes you through everything, from home life to the fire hoses, from the perspective of a story.”
Cal Morris is co-owner at Church Street Coffee & Books. As of the posting of this blog, we have Branch’s trilogy and Carry Me Home in stock at Church Street.