You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live: Ten Weeks in Birmingham That Changed America by Paul Kix is a history book chronicling the ten-week civil rights campaign in Birmingham, AL (1963). Mr. Kix is a journalist and a published author.
- 400 pages
- Publisher : Celadon Books
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1250807697
My rating for You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live – 5
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This book was sent to my Little Free Library by Celadon Books. It looked very interesting, strangely it complimented another book I’m currently reading, The Death of a President by William Manchester chronicling five days of the Kennedy assassination.
You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live by Paul Kix tells of Project C; a civil rights effort to desegregate Birmingham. The movement had a formidable opponent, Bull Connor, the racist sheriff controlling the city and its police department, who were as brutal as the Nazis (an eyewitness observation made by reporters).
The author tells of the events in a chronological order. Telling not only of events, but how personalities in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) clashed. The decision to bring in children to the protest was very controversial but Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and Reverend James Bevel managed to force the racist Birmingham government to concede.
I knew nothing of Project C, or Double D-Day, before reading this book. The marches were a pivotal, historical moment in America and, yet they are almost forgotten. To me, the shocking part, was how American citizens were treated by other Americans, yet the rest of the country stood by and watched. I did make me appreciate Robert F. Kennedy more, being a man with a strong moral sense. He did, however, wanted / was pressured to brush everything under the rug to get his brother, John, more votes.
And just like that – an honest man blinked.
The author’s depiction of the personalities involved was, for me, the strength of this book along with the historical aspects I knew nothing about. The book tells an important story, and yet it’s easy to read and digest.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free
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