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A Time to Speak, A Time to Speak, 0817360484, 0-8173-6048-4, 978-0-8173-6048-1, 9780817360481, , , A Time to Speak, 0817394087, 0-8173-9408-7, 978-0-8173-9408-0, 9780817394080,

A Time to Speak
The Story of a Young American Lawyer's Struggle for His City—and Himself
Charles Morgan Jr., With a New Foreword by Senator Doug Jones

Quality Paper
2022. 204 pp.
Price:  $19.95 t
E Book
204 pp.
Price:  $19.95 d

Brings back into print a classic account of courage and calamity in the long march toward racial justice in the South, and the nation
On September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young Black girls. The very next day, a prominent white lawyer named Charles Morgan Jr. was scheduled to speak at a luncheon held by the Young Men’s Business Club of Birmingham. A well-regarded figure in the city’s legal and business establishment, Morgan had been mentioned frequently as a candidate for political office. To the shock of his longtime friends and associates, Morgan deviated from his planned remarks, instead using his platform to place the blame for the murder of the four young girls squarely on the shoulders of the city’s white middle-class establishment, those seated before him.
As much as his stand was admired nationally, in Birmingham the results were destructive for him personally. Threats against his life and the lives of his family poured in daily by phone and mail, his political career was finished, and he was faced with financial ruin. Within weeks, he moved his family out of the state, and thenceforward committed himself to legal action in the name of racial justice. In 1964, he established the regional office of the ACLU in Atlanta. In the 1964 Supreme Court case Reynolds v. Sims, Morgan successfully argued that districts in state legislatures needed to be of nearly equal size, establishing the principle of “one man, one vote” to effectively end the use of gerrymandering.
A Time to Speak was originally published in 1964, a mere year after Morgan and his family fled Birmingham. The memoir recounts not only his speech, but his entire upbringing and the political, cultural, and social milieus in which he was raised and which gave rise to the cowardice, institutional silence, fear, and hate that those conditions nursed. This new edition features a foreword from US Senator Doug Jones.
Charles Morgan Jr. (1930–2009) was a pivotal figure in many of the key legal battles for civil rights and civil liberties in the 1960s and 1970s, successfully arguing many of his most noteworthy victories before the US Supreme Court. In addition to representing key figures in the civil rights movement itself, he argued on behalf of free speech rights for Vietnam War soldiers and protestors alike and led the ACLU’s campaign for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. He is also author of One Man, One Voice.
Senator Doug Jones is a lifelong resident of Alabama and a graduate of the University of Alabama and Cumberland School of Law. In 2017, Jones was elected to represent Alabama in the US Senate. He is former US attorney for the Northern District of Alabama and in this role he reopened and successfully prosecuted two Ku Klux Klan members for their roles in in the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.
“A quietly eloquent and moving human document. In it is faithfully recorded, with compassion and contempt, what came of speaking and acting honorably across a brief span of years in Alabama—chiefly in Birmingham, ‘The Magic City.’ . . . There will be those to sneer at it, and curse it, as there were those to sneer at and curse Charles Morgan. Yet the indictment of this personal story is too plainly honest to be ignored. Its prose is lean and clean. So is its accusation.”
—New York Times Book Review
“[Morgan] is a thinking, articulate man who doesn’t mind crying in the wilderness if there are some ears open to him. What he is saying needs heeding if the road to reconciliation and understanding is not to be closed forever. If it is for him a time to speak, it is for us a time to listen. Never was such communication more imperative.”
—Chicago Tribune
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