February 6, 2014 Aram Goudsouzian’s previous two books consider the lives of actor/director Sidney Poitier and basketball legend Bill Russell, both major cultural icons–and civil-rights activists– during the 1960s. In his new book, Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power and the Meredith March Against Fear, Goudsouzian (chair of the history department at the University of Memphis) looks at civil rights head-on.
The book discusses James Meredith’s June 1966 March Against Fear from Memphis to Jackson, Mississippi, as well as the multitude of personalities and organizations on both sides of the racial divide. After Meredith was wounded by a shotgun blast from a Shelby County racist, CORE, SNCC, SCLC and the NAACP wrestled for control of the march and its message, all while Mississippi’s white power structure tried to keep to a minimum the brutality the South was known for.
Aram Goudsouzian spoke with Chapter 16 prior to his appearances on February 11, 2014, at Parnassus Books in Nashville; on February 13, 2014, at Rhodes College in Memphis; and on February 24, 2014, at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis. Click here for event details. Click here to read Chapter 16‘s review of Down to the Crossroads.