Moment in Memphis, A
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Moment in Memphis, A

A Reluctant Southern White Boy Becomes a Civil Rights Lawyer and Goes North

Title Details

Pages: 206

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 08/17/2021

ISBN: 9-781-5883-8465-2

List Price: $22.00


Pub Date: 08/17/2021

ISBN: 9-781-5883-8473-7

List Price: $21.95


NewSouth Books

Moment in Memphis, A

A Reluctant Southern White Boy Becomes a Civil Rights Lawyer and Goes North

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  • Description
  • Reviews
This is the story of a Southern White boy growing up in segregated Mobile and his struggle to escape. In Part One the boy, a newly minted ACLU lawyer in Memphis, encounters racism while seeking to obtain justice for a Black youth beaten by police after Dr. King’s assassination in 1968. When threats against his family become oppressive, he flees to the North hoping to carry on his quest for justice. Part Two chronicles his attempts in Massachusetts to address issues of the disenfranchised, poor, people of color, gays, and the mentally challenged. In doing so, he confronts a North that when stripped of liberal patina is as steeped in racism as the South. This memoir is about that boy’s journey away from the society in which he grew up and his attempt to atone for guilt by leaving Memphis before his young Black client obtains justice.
What would Alice think? As the family’s Black maid, she taught a young Southern boy about racial injustice, a lesson that launched Oliver Fowlkes’s lifelong battle for civil rights in the courtroom. From his early years as a pro bono lawyer for the ACLU, the turmoil in Memphis after Dr. King’s assassination, threats against his family, and his flight North, where racial hatred continued its sting, Fowlkes tells of a man dedicated to paying back the debt owed Alice and many others. This invaluable memoir documents a dark time in our history that has repeated itself again and again, threatening the great American experiment to this day.

—Michelle Hoover, author of The Quickening and Bottomland

About the Author/Editor

OLIVER FOWLKES is an Alabamian transplanted to the North by way of Tennessee. A lawyer whose practice was devoted to civil rights issues, he is also a memoirist and writer of short stories and historical novels. Married with three children and five grandchildren, he lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. He also taught at Hampshire College.