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Aaron Henry: The Fire Ever Burning (Margaret Walker Alexander African American Studies)

Aaron Henry: The Fire Ever Burning (Margaret Walker Alexander African American Studies)

Previous price: $30.00 Current price: $25.00
Publication Date: September 1st, 2018
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
ISBN:
9781496820297
Pages:
288

Description

This book reveals why Aaron Henry (1922-1997) should be acknowledged, in the ranks of Fannie Lou Hamer and Medgar Evers, as a truly influential crusader.

Long before many of his contemporaries, he was a civil rights activist, but he preferred to stay out of the limelight. A certified pharmacist and owner of Fourth Street Drug Store in Clarksdale, he considered himself a down-home businessman who must not leave Mississippi. Although he was a key figure in bringing Head Start, housing, employment, and health service to his state, his tact and his quiet diplomacy garnered him less attention than more radical protesters received.

He became state president of the NAACP in 1959 and was able, more than any previous leader, to unite Mississippi blacks, despite diversities of age, ideology, and class, in confronting white supremacy. He spearheaded the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO). Some activists criticized him for urging protesters to take the middle ground between the NAACP's conservative position and SNCC's militant activism.

Facing recurring death threats, thirty-three jailings, and Klan bombings of his home and drugstore, Henry remained stalwart and courageous.

Constance Curry has shaped this personal narrative of a brave and underacknowledged man who helped change his state forever. To his candid story, transcribed from interviews Henry gave two young historians in 1965, Curry adds new material from her own interviews with his family, friends, and political associates. Henry's prophetic voice documents a momentous period in African American history that extends from the Great Depression through the civil rights movement in the pivotal 1960s.

About the Author

Aaron Henry (1922-1997) was a Mississippi-born civil rights leader and politician. In addition to his civil rights work, he was Mississippi NAACP president and a leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. He also served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1979 until 1996. He is author (with Constance Curry) of Aaron Henry: The Fire Ever Burning, published by University Press of Mississippi. Constance Curry (1933-2020) was an attorney and author or coauthor of six books, including Silver Rights, winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award, and Aaron Henry: The Fire Ever Burning, published by University Press of Mississippi. Her work focuses on people who were active in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.