Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lillian Smith Book Awards: Featured 2014 Nominee

We Shall Not Be Moved

The Jackson Woolworth Sit-In and the Movement it Inspired

By M.J. O'Brien

Once in a great while, an image captures the essence of an era. Three people--one black, two white--sit at a lunch counter while a horde of cigarette smoking hot shots pour catsup, sugar, and other counter condiments on the sitters’ heads and down their backs. The image strikes a chord for all who lived through those turbulent times of a changing America. And for those too young to have endured that period, it evokes an era, not that long ago, when the ordinary act of getting a cup of coffee with a friend of another race could spark a riot.

We Shall Not Be Moved is a triple threat: part biography, part history, and largely just good old fashioned storytelling. The book enables the reader to get behind the iconic image of the Jackson Woolworth’s sit-in and into the hearts and minds of those participating in this harrowing event. It’s history from the bottom up. We Shall Not Be Moved tells the entire story of the Jackson Movement, which the sit-in sparked to life, and the three weeks of demonstrations that put Jackson on the front page of every major newspaper in America.
Sadly, this uprising led to severe retaliation. Two weeks after the Jackson Woolworth’s sit-in, Medgar Evers, the local leader of the movement, was assassinated. We Shall Not Be Moved chronicles this horrific event through first-person accounts of those who endured it, and then reveals how these movement figures carried on after their leader was taken down.

"We Shall Not Be Moved is a story of pathos and drama—the story of “the beginning of change in Mississippi.” It sets the stage for much that would follow in the state’s shifting racial politics, particularly in its capital city."
M.J. O'Brien
"Michael O’Brien has written a detailed history and fascinating study of one of the iconic moments of the modern civil rights movement and the powerful effect it had. . . . Readers will enjoy this behind the scenes look at an important event in movement history."
Julian Bond, Chairman Emeritus NAACP 


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