Son of the Rough South: An Uncivil Memoir
Legendary civil rights reporter Karl Fleming was born in North Carolina's flattest, bleakest tobacco landscape. Raised in a Methodist orphanage during the Great Depression, he was isolated from much of the world around him until an early newspaper job introduced him to the era's brutal racial politics and a subsequent posting as Newsweek's lead civil rights reporter took him to the South's hotspots throughout the 1960s: James Meredith's enrollment at the University of Mississipi, the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, the assassination of Medgar Evers, the murders of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and more.
On May 17, 1966, Fleming was beaten by black rioters on the streets of Los Angeles. Newsweek covered the incident in their next issue, and here's what they wrote: "That he was beaten by Negroes in the streets of Watts was a cruel irony. Fleming had covered the landmark battles of the Negro revolt from Albany, Ga., to Oxford, Miss., to Birmingham, Ala., and numberless way stations whose names are now all but forgotten.... No journalist was more closely tuned into the Movement; once when a Newsweek Washington correspondent asked the Justice Department to name some Dixie hot spots, the Justice man replied, 'Ask Fleming. That's what we do.'"
In Son of the Rough South, Fleming has delivered a stunning, revealing memoir of all the worlds he knew, black, white, violent, and cloistered -- and a deeply moving read for anyone interested in any rough South.