Civil Rights Chronicle
Letters from the South
An outsider’s correspondence that documents the fight for civil rights in the Deep South
In more ways than one, Clarice T. Campbell was a friend of the civil rights movement. An indefatigable campaigner for desegregation, Campbell was also an inveterate letter-writer; the fact that many of her letters concerned civil rights has come as a boon and a blessing for historians of that era. The letters Campbell wrote to family and friends during the heyday of the early sixties have been collected in Civil Rights Chronicle, an eyewitness account of a troubled time.
Campbell's involvement in civil rights began in Pasadena where she worked as a teacher and helped integrate her local schools. When her husband died, Campbell moved south and began teaching history in black colleges. During those years she wrote detailed, perceptive letters that described the clash of race and culture from ground zero. What becomes immediately apparent is the importance of both individual and communal acts; the heroism of such figures as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks is admirable and necessary, but without organizations like the SCLC or the NAACP, they wouldn't have gotten far. Civil Rights Chronicle offers valuable reading for professional historians and anyone interested in America's troubled racial history.
Clarice T. Campbell, a retired history professor, must have felt kindly toward her profession, for the letters collected in Civil Rights Chronicle are that tremendous rarity: vivid, powerful, primary sources for a key period, produced by a superb witness who was not famous.- Warren Goldstein, The New York Times Book Review