An outsider's correspondence that documents the fight for civil rights in the Deep South
A California teacher named Clarice T. Campbell wrote detailed letters to family and friends about her "small adventure" while studying at the universities of Alabama and Mississippi and teaching at black Mississippi and South Carolina colleges from 1956 until 1965.
Participant and observer, she challenged segregated bus stations, restaurants, churches, and mindsets. Along the way she met intolerant and admirable people, both famous and local.
Anyone who says nothing has changed must have forgotten or never have known the daily indignities, not to mention the powerless position, of African-Americans in the South before the 1960s. Motivated to educate or remind, Campbell has collected and edited the amazing letters she wrote. They document a time and a place, as well as her observant, feeling nature.
Those who have read them have noted her "astute observation of race relations" and her "lighter vein that entertains while it teaches."
During her residence in the South, she encountered racial injustice everywhere. As she proceeded with her daily activities-shopping, having her car repaired, dining in cafes and restaurants-she recognized matters that she deemed "wrong." But only she and a few others dared to speak out. With her clear insight into a closed society being broken open, her collective letters to the world outside are a chronicle of the Deep South's struggle and America's quest for civil rights.
Civil Rights Chronicle: Letters from the South is a storybook, an autobiography, and, for the reader seeking an eyewitness's keen documentation, a history of troubled times.
Clarice T. Campbell retired from teaching in 1988. She lives in Tupelo, Mississippi.