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Editor Emory O. Jackson, the Birmingham World, and the Fight for Civil Rights in Alabama, 1940-1975

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Kimberley Mangun

This cultural biography tells the story of Birmingham World editor Emory O. Jackson. During his 35-year career in Alabama, he waged numerous sustained civil-rights campaigns for the franchise, equal educational opportunities, and justice for the victims of police brutality and bombings. The semiweekly newspaper was central to his advocacy. Jackson wrote editorials and columns that documented injustices and urged legislative and legal action in an effort to secure civil rights for Black Alabamians. His body of work, grounded in protest and passion, was part of the long tradition of the Black Press as an instrument to agitate for social and political change. Jackson also was a frequent speaker at NAACP branches, colleges, and churches. He was known as a commanding, even fiery, speaker who stressed first-class citizenship. Issues explored in the book demonstrate an assertion of constitutional rights in post-World War II America and a remarkable resilience. Editor Emory O. Jackson, the Birmingham World, and the Fight for Civil Rights in Alabama, 1940-1975 is the first scholarly analysis of his work and as such contributes to scholarship on the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama and the nation.

"Editor Emory O. Jackson, the Birmingham World, and the Fight for Civil Rights in Alabama, 1940–1975 is more than a biography about another relatively unknown African American journalist. Kimberley Mangun’s book is a thoroughly researched and masterfully written explication of the life and work of the daring editor whose journalism celebrated the accomplishments of his race and provided a powerful voice that challenged the white power structure and even members of his race to remove or overcome barriers that consigned African Americans to second-class status. This tour de force provides context that not only remedies the marginalization of Jackson in media history, but also contributes to the history of the black press, Birmingham, the media and the nation.” —Jinx C. Broussard, Bart R. Swanson Endowed Memorial Professor, Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University; Author of African American Foreign Correspondents: A History, winner of the 2014 AEJMC History Division Book Award

“Kimberley Mangun’s historical account of Emory O. Jackson and the Birmingham World is an important addition to the growing scholarly research about the black press during the civil rights strife in the South. It took tremendous courage for southern black editors such as Jackson and their newspapers to keep up a steady drumbeat for equality for blacks and for an end to the continual violence directed at them. Anchored in an impressive array of primary documents and told with the deft touch of a good storyteller, this book will give readers a deepening, and perhaps surprising, appreciation of the importance of the black press in a turbulent time in this country. Quite simply, it is a valuable piece of research.” —Patrick S. Washburn, Professor Emeritus, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University; Author of The African American Newspaper: Voice of Freedom

“Emory O. Jackson at last has the biographer he has long deserved. As editor of the Birmingham World, he was first to cover fully the Montgomery Bus Boycott and he led the years-long effort to desegregate the University of Alabama. He also advocated voting rights and justice related to police violence and the bombing of churches, homes, and businesses. Through all the turmoil of the Civil Rights Movement, Emory Jackson’s hand was forever present. Now his story is told by gifted historian Kimberley Mangun, who links his fight for equal rights to present-day issues and topics including voter disenfranchisement, officer-involved shootings, and #BlackLivesMatter.” —E. Culpepper Clark, Dean and Professor Emeritus, the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia; Author of The Schoolhouse Door: Segregation’s Last Stand at the University of Alabama, a Notable Book Selection by The New York Times Book Review