Now that I’ve given my talk, “The Bernard Whitehurst Case in post-Civil Rights Montgomery: More Questions Than Answers” at AUM, it only seems rational to say a quick word about my current book project.
I’m now writing a heavily researched memoir about post-Civil Rights Montgomery in the 1970s and 1980s. The Whitehurst Case is one aspect of the story. Other aspects that involve police are the WAPX shootout in 1974, the raid on a Charlie Daniels concert in 1978, the raid of a Klan rally in 1979, and the Todd Road Incident in 1983. Yet, all of the book’s content won’t involve police-related situations. I’m equally interested in things like the post-integration evolution of public and private schools, the proposed-but-rejected merger of Auburn University at Montgomery and Alabama State University in 1981, and Emory Folmar’s unsuccessful run for governor in 1982.
In the eight months that I’ve been working on it, I’ve already found out about multiple events that I had never heard of, in addition to finding facts on events that I had only heard a little about. So I expect to uncover even more as I go.
I’m also aware that there are people who were involved in some of these situations who will not talk to me about their experiences; I understand that position and intend to respect their privacy. I’m not one to make anyone angry or upset, but I am out to find out more about my infamous hometown during the years that I was growing up. The book will be a mixture of my personal recollections with information gleaned from news articles, interviews, and other sources.
My interest in this subject comes from being a life-long resident of Montgomery, born here in 1974. My parents were raised in Montgomery, too. I attended a public school from 1979 until 1984, and then a local private school from 1985 until 1992. I’ve been all over this city, known many different people here, and as an adult have become a student of its history and culture. The incidents I listed above are only some of the things that were happening when I was too young to understand. So far, the Whitehurst case has been my main focus, since it’s a heavy topic to wrap my head around, and that presentation at AUM helped me to organize my thoughts and to make that complex situation accessible to people who are unfamiliar with it. However, there’s lots more to get into!
I don’t know when the book will be finished or published. It’s way too early in the process for thinking about that.