In June of 1957, Governor James Coleman stepped before the cameras on NBC's "Meet the Press" and was asked whether the public schools would ever be integrated. "Well, ever is a long time," he replied," [but] I would say that a baby born in Mississippi today will never live long enough to see an integrated school." In this extraordinary pilgrimage, W. Ralph Eubanks recaptures the feel of growing up during this tumultuous era, deep in rural Mississippi.
Inspired by the 1998 declassification of files kept by the State Sovereignty Commission--an agency specifically created to maintain white supremacy--Ralph Eubanks embarks on an extraordinary pilgrimage to recapture the feel of growing up deep in rural Mississippi. Eubanks vividly evokes a time and place where even small steps across the Jim Crow line became a matter of life and death, he offers eloquent testimony to a family's grace against all odds. The result is a journey of discovery that leads Eubanks not only to surprising conclusions about his own family, but also to harrowing encounters with those involved in some of the era's darkest activities.
"Ralph Eubanks's Mississippi detective story wrapped in a memoir is a remarkable journey back to the civil rights future. This wistful little book holds a significance as rich as Delta loam."
--David Levering Lewis, author of W.E.B. Du Bois: the Fight for Equality and the American Century
"What I found particularly beautiful about Ralph Eubanks' Mississippi memoir was its lack of bitterness. As an African-American of that time and place, he has every right to be bitter. There is an elegance here in the prose, a righteousness here in his investigations of how the Sovereignty Commission spied on his family. But somehow he manages a lack of bitterness, which makes his story that much more memorable and believable. In spite of everything, his deep love for his native state shines through."
--Paul Hendrickson, author of Sons of Mississippi
"A gift to everyone who reads it.... In all respects, an exemplary and admirable piece of work."
--Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"A poignant look at a small southern town during a tumultuous period."
"Ralph Eubanks gives us a rare insight."
--Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
"Compelling...by turns a charming remembrance of a rural childhood and a chilling reminder of racism's legacy."
"Eubank's memoir is written in clear, accessible prose...his straightforward manner makes the emotional issues and difficult memories all the more poignant."
--The Sun Herald