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Daughter of the Boycott
Daughter of the Boycott

Daughter of the Boycott

Carrying On a Montgomery Family's Civil Rights Legacy


240 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, Mobipocket, EPUB, PDF

Cloth, $27.99 (US $27.99) (CA $37.99)

Publication Date: May 2020

ISBN 9781641603034

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (May 2020)
Lawrence Hill Books


eBook Editions Available

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Karen Gray Houston’s story of her family’s involvement in the historic Montgomery bus boycott, the action that kick-started the civil rights movement

In 1950, a Negro man named Hilliard Brooks was shot and killed by a white policeman during an encounter involving a ride on a city bus. Brooks and Thomas Gray played football together as kids. Gray and other fellow veterans, outraged about an unjustifiable fatal shooting, protested, eventually staging a major march against police brutality downtown. Five years later, Gray protested again, this time against the unjust treatment of Negroes on the city's segregated buses. Author Karen Gray Houston's father, Thomas Gray, and her uncle, Fred D. Gray, were boycott leaders. Fred Gray represented Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and rarely mentioned teenage activist Claudette Colvin, a named plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the Supreme Court case that forced Alabama to desegregate its buses. Only as an adult did Houston began to appreciate how, in the face of threats and bombings, their bold, selfless actions helped change the nation’s racial climate, opening doors of opportunity for her and countless others. Daughter of the Boycott takes the reader on a journey through the struggles Houston’s family faced before and after the boycott, including the violence and setbacks. With the trained eye of an investigative reporter, she gives voice to the lives affected by this historical moment.


“There are many narratives yet to come out of the galvanizing civil rights movement. Karen Gray Houston’s tender and powerful memoir is one such story.” —Wil Haygood, author of The Butler and Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America

“The book speaks to real experiences of being black in America, reminding us of important past events that force the country to own up to its history.” —Robert S. Graetz Jr., author of A White Preacher’s Message on Race and Reconciliation


“Thank you, Karen Gray Houston, for your insightful and inspiring visit with the true heroes of the civil rights movement: the ordinary citizens who stood up at great risk to bring the injustice of Jim Crow segregation to an end so that all Americans can go forward.” —Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize–winning Chicago Tribune columnist

Daughter of the Boycott is more than a beautiful and moving memoir, it’s an important work of history. With passion and insight, Karen Gray Houston tells an unforgettable story.” —Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life and Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season

“Everything Karen Gray Houston accomplished as a journalist prepared her to tell this story in a truly authentic and masterful way, as no one else can tell it.” —A’Lelia Bundles, author of On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker

“We do not have enough written words illustrating that the civil rights movement did not emerge from nowhere, and the strength of family and community that pushed it forward. Karen Gray Houston’s Daughter of the Boycott teaches this. She is to be praised for doing so and admired
for doing it so well.” —Charles E. Cobb Jr., veteran of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and author of This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed

"Houston draws on interviews with family,‚Äč friends, and others to portray both known and unsung civil rights heroines and heroes." —Booklist

“a welcome reminder that profound social changes can also result from the quiet heroism of people with unshakable commitment to nonviolence.” —Kirkus Reviews

Author Biography

Karen Gray Houston is an award-winning broadcast journalist whose career has spanned more than four decades, including 20 years as a local news reporter for Washington, DC’s WTTG-TV, Fox-5.