Hosea Williams: A Lifetime of Defiance and Protest. Rolundus R. Rice.

Hosea Williams: A Lifetime of Defiance and Protest

University of South Carolina Press, January 2022. Paper Back. New. Item #264568
ISBN: 1643362577

The first comprehensive study of one of America's most gifted civil rights activists and political mavericks

When civil rights leader Hosea Lorenzo Williams died in 2000, U.S. Congressman John Lewis said of him, Hosea Williams must be looked upon as one of the founding fathers of the new America. Through his actions, he helped liberate all of us.

In this first comprehensive biography of Williams, Rolundus Rice demonstrates the truth in Lewis's words and argues that Williams's activism in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was of central importance to the success of the larger civil rights movement. Rice traces Williams's journey from a local activist in Georgia to a national leader and one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s chief lieutenants. He helped plan the Selma-to-Montgomery march and walked shoulder-to-shoulder with Lewis across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday.

Williams played the role of enforcer in SCLC, always ready to deploy what he called his arsenal of agitation. While his hard-charging tactics may have seemed out of step with the more diplomatic approach of other SCLC leaders, Rice suggests that it was precisely this contrast in styles that made the organization so successful. Rice also follows Williams's career after King's assassination, as Williams moved into local Atlanta politics. While his style made him loved by some and hated by others, readers will come to appreciate the central role that Williams played in the most successful nonviolent revolution in American history.

Andrew Young Jr., former SCLC executive director, U.S. Congressman, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and mayor of Atlanta, provides a foreword.

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