The Other Side of Montgomery: Growing Up White in the Birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement

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NewSouth Books, 2009 - History - 137 pages
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In the 1950s and '60s, Montgomery, Alabama, was ground zero for many of the major events central to the civil rights movement in this country. Yet there was also a gentler side of the city that is rarely revealed within the pages of history texts. This book takes a thought-provoking, even-handed look at those days from the perspective of a typical white kid growing up in Montgomery during that era. The end result is a greater appreciation for those times, along with a clearer insight into the city's unique and colorful past. The author recalls with fondness the casual neighborliness that existed within his community, the freedom that children enjoyed to roam and play, and the slower pace of life that prevailed. He recalls the popular hangouts for older teens and the legendary "Big Bam Shows" of the period. Because he was a star athlete at Goodwyn Junior High and then at Lee High School, the author also opens a window into the years when sports competition at Montgomery's white high schools was at its peak, when state football championships were decided at Cramton Bowl before as many as 25,000 cheering fans. "The world was changing rapidly, but still it was such a simpler, more innocent time to grow up. How fortunate I was to have come along during that era," he writes.

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I, like Mr. Phillips, attended Goodwyn Jr. High School and Robert E. Lee High School. The only difference is that I attended Chisholm Elementary School. I'm sorry that Mr. Phillips felt the need to belittle not only the community in which I lived, but also the people that I grew up with. I'm not really sure who he was talking about in his book when he referred to "Chisholmites", but, I assume it was all of us that lived in Chisholm. Let me tell you Mr. Phillips what just a few of the "Chisholmites" did with their lives; Dr. Guy Bailey became President of Texes Tech University, Wayne Blackwell became an Executive Vice President at MAX Federal Credit Union, Linda Armstead Huebner has a Masters Degree from the Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth Texas and is married to Dr. Dennis Huebner who graduated from Texas A&M and own three vet clinics in Texas, Dale and Edith Mangrum own Amerispect Corporation, Charles Rodgers is an accountant and co/owner of Climate Control Equipment, Jane Bailey Morgan graduated from the University of Alabama and is married to Gary Morgan, who is Minister of Music at a huge baptist church in Birmingham, Melissa Hunt graduated from the University of Alabama(where she was also a cheerleader), Tony Bryant was the Chief of Medics for the Montgomery Fire Dept. Should I go on Mr. Phillips? You made us sound like common thrash who had to be in school because we had no choice! Oh, and, most of us were basically "dumb as dirt". We were good people. Our parents worked hard. You should be ashamed of yourself. Yes, I turned out pretty good too! I married the accoutant! 

Selected pages


When I Was a Little Squirt
Teenage Culture Shock
Best Years of Our Lives
Swimming in the Football Fishbowl
Aftermath of Integration
Final Thoughts
Sources of Photographs

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About the author (2009)

Eddie Phillips draws upon his experiences as a lifelong resident of Montgomery, Alabama, to write his book The Other Side of Montgomery. This is his second book; he previously published a collection of satirical poetry, Left for Dead in the Corner Cubicle. Eddie and his wife Teri have two children, and they are past recipients of the "Family of the Year Award" sponsored by the Montgomery Area Family Guidance Center.

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