A New Look at the History of the Civil Rights Movement

Black Maverick

My friends David Beito and Linda Royster Beito have published an important new book, Black Maverick: T. R. M. Howard’s Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power (University of Illinois Press, 2009).

It was just reviewed in the Wall Street Journal: “Demanding Rights, Courting Controversy
A flamboyant civil-rights leader —doctor, orator, activist—finally gets his due
,” by Mark Bauerlein. After noting that Howard has received much too little attention in the histories of the civil rights movement (“A flamboyant Second Amendment, ­anti-communist capitalist doesn’t please journalists and historians searching for civil-rights martyrs.”), Bauerlein notes,

“Black Maverick” … makes room for exactly such a figure, and rightly so. That Howard made an important contribution is unquestionable. Three months after the Till murder, he lectured in a ­Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., the guest of ­26-year-old pastor Martin Luther King. He spoke of shootings, the FBI and a ­freedom march on ­Washington, D.C. One woman in the audience remembered years later Howard’s vivid ­description of the Till killing. Her name was Rosa Parks, and four days after Howard spoke she answered a Montgomery bus driver, “No.”

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