Synopses & Reviews
On Sunday, March 7, 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. and six hundred followers set out on foot from Selma, Alabama, bound for Montgomery to demand greater voting rights for African Americans. As they crossed the cityand#8217;s Edmund Pettus Bridge, state and local policemen savagely set on the marchers with tear gas and billy clubs, an event now known as and#147;Bloody Sundayand#8221; that would become one of the most iconic in American history.
Kingand#8217;s informal headquarters in Selma was the home of Dr. Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson and their young daughter, Jawana. The House by the Side of the Road is Richie Jeanand#8217;s firsthand account of the private meetings King and his lieutenants, including Ralph David Abernathy and John Lewis, held in the haven of the Jackson home.
Sullivan Jackson was an African American dentist in Selma and a prominent supporter of the civil rights movement. Richie Jean was a close childhood friend of Kingand#8217;s wife, Coretta Scott King, a native of nearby Marion, Alabama. Richie Jeanand#8217;s fascinating account narrates how, in the fraught months of 1965 that preceded the Voting Rights March, King and his inner circle held planning sessions and met with Assistant Attorney General John Doar to negotiate strategies for the event.
Just eight days after Bloody Sunday, President Lyndon Johnson made a televised addressed to a joint session of Congress on Monday, March 15. Jackson relates the intimate scene of King and his lieutenants watching as Johnson called the nation to dedicate itself to equal rights for all and ending his address with the words: and#147;We shall overcome.and#8221; Five months later, Congress passed the 1965 Voting Rights Act on August 6.
The major motion picture Selma now commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In it, Niecy Nash and Kent Faulcon star as Sullivan and Richie Jean Jackson among a cast including Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson, and Cuba Gooding Jr. A gripping primary source, The House by the Side of the Road illuminates the private story whose public outcomes electrified the world and changed the course of American history.
and#147;Any civil rights library needs this!and#8221;
and#151;Midwest Book Review
and#147;This book tells the story of a place, a time, and a people whose struggle and sacrifice helped this nation create a more perfect union. The house by the side of the road became a haven from the hostility raging all around usand#151;from threats, jailings, beatings, and even death itself. It was a necessary stop for so many activists, and it is a necessary read for anyone interested in the Selma Movement.and#8221; and#151;John Lewis, congressman from Georgia
and#147;The experience in Selma during the voting rights campaign would have been much more stressful and probably intolerable except for the gathering in the Jacksonsand#8217; home. This home, so full of love and warmth, gave us perseverance, patience, and determination to continue the day-to-day efforts to finish the task. . . . Thank God for this loving, faithful family. Their significance to the effectiveness of the movement is a tale thatand#8217;s never been told. They put their own safety at risk to serve the common good.and#8221; and#151;Reverend Joseph Lowery, former Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) President
and#147;Cabbage, cornbread, and civil rights may seem to be a curious combination, but Jean Jackson combines them in a truthful, soul-searching, firsthand account of the troubled times in her hometown of Selma in the 1960s.and#8221;
and#151;Kathryn Tucker Windham, author of Alabama,and#160;One Big Front Porchand#160;andand#160;Thirteen Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey
and#147;The House by the Side of the Road is a fine glimpse into history, not just the civil rights era, but . . . the personalities of this era. It is the opposite of melodrama. It describes, in an almost nonchalant way, the rocks found on the porch (and#145;but didnand#8217;t even break any windowsand#8217;) and how a KKK parade in front of the house and#145;made only one pass.and#8217; Because of this book, we know that the Rev. Kingand#8217;s cold was treated with red onion, honey, lemon, and and#145;several teaspoonsand#8217; of whiskey. I love these details.and#8221;
and#151;Rick Bragg, author of All Over but the Shoutinand#8217; and Somebody Told Me
and#147;Richie Jean Sherrod Jacksonand#8217;sand#160;The House by the Side of the Roadand#160;is a dazzling masterpiece composed of extraordinary events during the Selma Civil Rights Movement. . . . Her powerful story and authentic style impel readers of all races and creeds to experience an intimate glance into the thoughts and actions of our noble civil rights leaders. Jacksonand#8217;s book illustrates that through the darkness and despair of many aftermaths, King continued to protest against the political corruption in Selma, thus creating equal rights for African Americans.and#8221;
This book is a firsthand account of the behind-the-scenes activity of King and his lieutenantsandmdash;a mixture of stress, tension, dedication, and the personal interaction at the movementandrsquo;s heartandmdash;told by Richie Jean Jackson, who carefully created a safe haven for the civil rights leaders and dealt with the innumerable demands of living in the eye of events that would forever change America.
About the Author
Born in Mobile, Alabama, Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson earned a Bachelor of Science in secondary education at Alabama State College and a Masters of Education at the University of Montevallo.