Daughter of the Boycott: Carrying on a Montgomery Family’s Civil Rights Legacy

Lawrence Hill. May 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781641603034. $27.99. MEMOIR
Broadcast journalist Houston’s first book is a memoir of her family’s personal involvement in the civil rights movement and a contemporary commentary on how that movement is remembered and understood today. The author’s father, Thomas Gray, fought against racial injustice and police brutality in his native Alabama years before the celebrated 1955 Montgomery bus boycott. He was one of the original board members of the Montgomery Improvement Association, which coordinated the effort, and later went on to become an attorney specializing in civil rights, fair housing, and poverty law. Houston’s uncle, Fred D. Gray, was an attorney who represented civil rights activists and the plaintiffs in the key case that forced desegregation of Alabama bus lines. Houston uses archival material, letters, and personal interviews to resurrect “missing voices,” recounting the hardships and prejudices of those years. These family stories are interspersed with poignant discussions on recent issues of continuing injustice.
VERDICT A beautiful celebration of one family’s life of service and commitment to racial justice, this important book should be welcomed by both historians and general readers interested in American history, social change, and civil rights issues.

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