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Fighting the Devil in Dixie
Fighting the Devil in Dixie

Fighting the Devil in Dixie

How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama


336 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: EPUB, Mobipocket, PDF, Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $17.95 (CA $21.95) (US $17.95)

Publication Date: September 2015

ISBN 9781613734162

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Sep 2015)
Lawrence Hill Books


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A story of the united efforts to defeat segregation

Examining the growth of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) following the birth of the civil rights movement, this book is filled with tales of the heroic efforts to halt their rise to power. Shortly after the success of the Montgomery bus boycott, the KKK—determined to keep segregation as the way of life in Alabama—staged a resurgence, and the strong-armed leadership of Governor George C. Wallace, who defied the new civil rights laws, empowered the Klan’s most violent members. Although Wallace’s power grew, not everyone accepted his unjust policies, and blacks such as Martin Luther King Jr., J. L. Chestnut, and Bernard LaFayette began fighting back in the courthouses and schoolhouses, as did young southern lawyers such as Charles “Chuck” Morgan, who became the ACLU’s southern director; Morris Dees, who cofounded the Southern Poverty Law Center; and Bill Baxley, Alabama attorney general, who successfully prosecuted the bomber of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church and legally halted some of Governor Wallace’s agencies designed to slow down integration. Dozens of exciting, extremely well-told stories demonstrate how blacks defied violence and whites defied public ostracism and indifference in the face of kidnappings, bombings, and murders.


"[The book] does more than take you behind the picket lines, along the dark country roads and under the white hoods of the civil rights struggle. It takes you inside its very skin, and inside the South's broken heart."  —Rick Bragg, author, All Over But the Shoutin' and Ava's Man

“Wayne Greenhaw writes about civil rights with a journalist’s skills, the ease of a natural-born storyteller, an insider’s perspective, and a sensitive Southerner’s understanding. He was there during the quintessential events of the modern movement, and now you can be too. I recommend it.” —Julian Bond, civil rights leader and former chairman of the NAACP

“Wayne Greenhaw has long been the dean of Alabama journalism--the oracle for visiting national reporters in search of The Story. It’s no surprise, then, that his account of the progressives who took on the state’s racist status quo is authoritative, intimate, and gripping. A valuable addition to the civil rights bibliography.” —Diane McWhorter, author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama; The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution

“Wayne Greenhaw’s book is very nearly indispensable for people who study the South. This is an Alabama story, but it spreads far beyond its hearth and home.” —Roy Reed, former reporter for the New York Times

“[This is] the dramatic story of the brave, determined black and white Southerners who took on the haters in Alabama and, against all odds, turned the tide against them. It is an intimate, knowledgeable and overdue account, heartening in its reminder that it is as possible as it is necessary to confront and overcome evil in your own backyard.” —Hodding Carter III, journalist, politician, and educator

"Fighting the Devil in Dixie is a major addition to the historic literature of the Southern Civil Rights movement. As an Alabama journalist, Wayne Greenhaw was an eye witness to events that changed America. With this book, he richly fulfills Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s teaching that we must all bear witness for justice." —Howell Raines, author of My Soul is Rested

“This is such a fresh take on the civil rights struggle. Wayne Greenhaw grew up living and then covering all of this, reporting the good fight then, and now memorably documenting it in this wonderful book.” —Paul Stekler, director, George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire

"Combin[es] personal memories with a wealth of sources . . . [this book] chronicles one of the great victories in America's ongoing struggle for social justice."  —BookPage

Author Biography

Wayne Greenhaw is the critically acclaimed author of 22 books, including Beyond the Night, My Heart Is in the Earth, The Spider's Web, and The Thunder of Angels. His work on civil rights issues, the KKK, and the Alabama state government has appeared in the Miami Herald, the New York Times, and Reader's Digest. He lives in Montgomery, Alabama.