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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:Social History
  • Language:English
  • Pages:182
  • eBook ISBN:9781667896267
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667896250

Until Justice Rolls Down Like Waters

Retracing the Civil Rights Pathways

by William Cooper

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William Cooper, BA New Testament, Lincoln Christian College; BA Sociology, MS Criminology, Arizona State University; taught Sociology at Cypress College, California for twenty years. An epiphany-like experience with the Maya Lynn designed Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama drew him to the Civil Rights movement and five lengthy trips along its southern pathways resulted in numerous treasured memories of its people and places. Interviews, analysis and reminisces of the South of the Civil Rights years.
With regret that he had been only vaguely aware of the events of the Civil Rights movement while they were happening and from a sense of obligation towards his sociology students for whom he needed to educate himself, the author made personal journeys over several years to the places that had been the scenes of marches, freedom rides, sit-ins, and bus boycotts: To Atlanta where he interviewed John Lewis, legendary leader of SNCC; The Auburn District, home of M.L. King Jr.'s childhood home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and M. L. King Jr.'s tomb, and to Morehouse College. To Nashville in July 1991 where he joined with others in the Freedom Rides anniversary. To Mississippi and Bryant's Store, scene of the Emmett Till/Carolyn Bryant confrontation; To Neshoba County and the Mt Zion Church where he met Florence Mars and J.R. "Bud" and Beatrice Cole who offered unique perspectives on the Freedom Summer Murders of 1964. To Birmingham, the 16th St Baptist Church and the bombings, Kelly Ingram Park, the Police dogs and fire hoses that knocked adults and children down in the streets. And to Selma and over Edmund Pettus Bridge that marchers had crossed on "Bloody Sunday. William Cooper, the author was years along in a satisfying career teaching sociology at Cypress College, California. He and Susun his wife were totally focused on a new home they were building in the remote woods of far northern Siskiyou County where they dreamed of retiring in a few years. The Civil Rights Movement more than a generation earlier, was nowhere in their minds. That was not to be! On a November morning in 1989 with no warning of the emotional jolt in store, he was leisurely reading through the massive Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times. Turning a next page, he was emotionally struck by a long article about a newly dedicated Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. His attention was drawn to the name Maya Lin, the young woman who had designed this new memorial, by then already famous for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Capital Mall. An unusual feature of this new memorial was a large, circular, obelisk-like cone of black granite, standing on its point. Reminiscent of her earlier Vietnam Veterans memorial, names were carved around the surface of the cone, of martyrs who had been killed in the struggle for equal rights during America's Civil Rights years. Scrolling down the list of martyrs, the majority of the names he did not recognize; had never heard of. Nevertheless, tears began to run down his face, overwhelmed with emotion. All that emotional upheaval spawned a decision to undertake a trip to the South the following summer. That summer trip eventually turned into five lengthy journeys to the South of the Civil Rights years. The author visited numerous places where martyrs had been murdered. The book features people interviewed and photographed; significant notables like, Bernard Lafayette, Will Campbell, and John Lewis, and numerous ordinary people who had also been participants in the events of a long generation before. The book includes photographs and descriptions of significant places, of monuments and memorial stones. There are also reflections on the Birmingham church bombings as well as William Gladstone's troubling question: "Is justice delayed, justice denied?" The book also reveals the author's very interesting biography of a life lived through all the years of the Civil Rights Movement, yet mostly unaware of it! His experiences inside protestant churches of those years offers a fascinating insight into the neglect, sometimes benign, sometimes not, of those churches' encounter with this major American movement for racial justice and brotherhood. This collection of interesting stories and insights is a refreshing perspective for people of all ages to ponder and remember, but especially for the young to whom the torch of brotherhood and justice must now be passed.
About the author
William Cooper, born of southern parents in Memphis, Tennessee, spent his childhood between Memphis and southern Missouri. The family moved to Illinois where he graduated high school and received a Bachelor's degree in New Testament from Lincoln Christian University in central Illinois. Following early years as a preacher to a number of rural churches in Illinois and Indiana, he became the minister of an historic old church outside Lexington, Kentucky. Following a disappointing two years as senior minister at a large church near downtown Los Angeles, he left the pulpit ministry and became what was then called the college-career minister to large churches in Long Beach and Phoenix, Arizona. He received a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and a Master's in Criminology from Arizona State University. After several years with the Arizona Department of Corrections he accepted a contract to teach Sociology at Cypress College, California. A number of years into his tenure at Cypress, an epiphany-like experience drew him to the Civil Rights Movement. Over the next years he made five lengthy trips to the South along the pathways of that Movement. These stories of the people, places and the Memorial Stones encountered, are offered to people of all ages, especially the young.