Wednesday, September 7, 2016

the last book I ever read (Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, excerpt four)

from Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus by Rick Perlstein:

To its white citizens, Birmingham, Alabama, was a proud and grimy symbol of the South’s industrial future, presided over by United States Steel Company’s dwarfing works on its outskirts and a fifty-six-foot statue of Vulcan, Roman god of fire, in its bustling downtown—“Magic City,” they called it, in wonderment at its population’s doubling since the war. To its black residents, who could hardly be called citizens, Birmingham was an everyday hell of quiet humiliation and frequent terror. No segregation code was stricter (“It shall be unlawful for a Negro and a white person to play together … in any game of cards of dice, dominoes or checkers”); nowhere were the consequences of transgression more terrifying. In 1957 a local black minister named Fred Shuttlesworth announced his intention to send his children to white schools. In retaliation, the Klan abducted a black man at random, castrated him, and poured turpentine on the wound. Blacks lived on the east side of Center Street in Birmingham, whites on the west, and not for nothing were the borderlands in between nicknamed “Dynamite Hill.”

No comments:

Post a Comment