Historians have customarily portrayed the civil rights movement as a nonviolent call on America's conscience – and the subsequent rise of Black Power as a violent repudiation of the civil rights dream. But Radio Free Dixie reveals that both movements grew out of the same soil, confronted the same predicaments, and reflected the same quest for African American freedom. As Robert Williams's story demonstrates, independent black political action, black cultural pride, and armed self-reliance operated in the South in tension and in tandem with legal efforts and nonviolent protest.
"Stunning. . . . Radio Free Dixie presents an engaging portrait of one man's continuous struggle to resist political and social oppression. – Emerge
"[A] radiant biography. . . . Tyson is that rarest of writers: a successful scholar who can actually tell a compelling story in clear, even handsome language. – Village Voice Literary Supplement
"Tyson's firecracker text crackles with brilliant and lasting images of black life . . . across the South in the '40s, '50s and '60s. . . . Tyson successfully portrays Williams as a troubled visionary, a strong, stubborn and imperfect man, one who greatly influenced what became the Black Power Movement and its young leaders. – Publishers Weekly
This book tells the riveting story of controversial black activist Robert F. Williams (1925-1996). In the late 1950s, as president of the Monroe, North Carolina, NAACP, Williams organized armed resistance to KKK terrorists – in the process challenging not only white supremacists but also Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights establishment. As Radio Free Dixie reveals, however, the civil rights movement and the Black Power movement grew out of the same soil, confronted the same predicaments, and were much closer than traditional portrayals suggest. In the civil rights-era South, independent black politics, black cultural pride, and "armed self-reliance" operated in tension and in tandem with legal efforts and nonviolent protests in the quest for African American freedom. – >
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Written history is only one version of the truth. The version lived by people who struggled with fear, hunger, guilt and hopelessness is very different from that of dull dusty history books. This is not an historical treatise but the story of two ordinary young people caught up in events not of their choosing and their experiences under the Nazi…