A “Must Read”

A ‘Must Read” 50 Years after the Civil Rights Movement Started in the South 

Walter Bennett’s “Leaving Tuscaloosa” brings a new voice to the Southern literary field, one that resonates with the deeply human stories of white segregationists, black Civil Rights advocates, and ordinary small town people in the deep South in the sixties. Every character is fully human, and when a frustrated high school boy sets things off with some late night hit-and-run pitching practice, aimed at the head of the town’s most powerful black preacher, every voice in town gets a chance to tell his or her side of things, resulting in a wide-open window into the beating heart of a time and place few from outside that time and place have been able to fully comprehend. Bennett’s narrative strategy, by including so many compelling voices, is compassionate and beautifully written. But it is Acee and his white boyhood friend Bo who will break your heart and leave you thinking about what was lost and gained during that era. A wonderful book for generating open and lively discussion, 50 years after a voice rose up from the deep South and said, “I have a dream today.”    

Review from Marjorie HudsonAccidental Birds of the Carolinas