I am proud to relay that today I contracted my next book, which will be on the Whitehurst Case in post-Civil Rights Montgomery. After meeting the Whitehurst family back in 2013 and entertaining the possibility of a book on this subject, I did some preliminary research and foresaw a much larger book on the history of Montgomery in the 1970s and 1980s, which would interweave the many complicated events that peppered that time period. I dove head-long into that project through the latter half of 2013, all of 2014, and now into 2015. I’m been thankful for the cooperation I’ve gotten from quite a few long-time Montgomerians who have talked to me about Montgomery’s post-Civil Rights history.
However, after many hours of research, over 50,000 words of text, and lots of pacing around my office, a discussion with NewSouth Books editor-in-chief Randall Williams convinced me that what I actually had was two books: one on the Whitehurst Case that was nearly finished, and one on post-Civil Rights Montgomery that was well underway. So, Randall and I came to terms, and the book on the Whitehurst Case has been contracted! (The Montgomery book will go on hold for now, and I will continue it when this first project is complete.)
Writing a book is a strange endeavor, which can twist and turn through a variety of forms and structures. This project, after deviating in my mind into wider terrain, has brought me back to the original idea that idea that was proposed over a lunchtime meeting with a family I’d then never met before. The Whitehurst Case is a complicated aspect of Southern history, which changed many lives in Alabama’s capitol city.
As the saying goes, it ain’t over ’til it over . . . I’ve got plenty of work to do – some interviews, some more research, more writing, and lots of polishing – over the next few months to ensure that the book’s final manuscript is clean and clear, accurate and well-documented. As more news becomes available, I’ll share it here.