Better Than Them: The Unmaking of an Alabama Racist

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NewSouth Books, Oct 27, 2014 - History - 176 pages

"You are better than them. Don't forget it," a grandmother whispers to her grandson, S. M. "Mac" Otts. The year is 1965, and an eighteen-year-old boy stands curbside in his Black Belt hometown—weapon in hand—defiant before a peaceful civil rights demonstration. Violent pandemonium follows the quiet moment. For the rest of Otts's life, his grandmother's words haunt him and inspire the writing of his powerful memoir, Better Than Them: The Unmaking of an Alabama Racist. With honesty and humility, Otts uses that memorable day in 1965 as a lens through which to view the events that shaped his life. He ventures back to examine the antebellum period and to the glories, tragedies, and unspoken shame of his slave-holding ancestors, and forward again to the civil rights era. He probes into the roots of the race-related events involving his community in the 1950s and '60s, seeking understanding about the underlying issues and, especially, of what brings about change. Otts reflects on how he outgrew his racist upbringing and how he finally returned to his hometown to interview select black demonstrators and white peers. The conclusions he reaches make this a memoir about Otts's life and experiences in a racially divided world, but also about how a life is lived and celebrated and understood.


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The march
Little Woman media Church Fires a White negro
The Spin the Bubble and the Vote
mLK KKK and mr Smaws murder
Jail Blues Boy on horseback Leopards Spots
Firestorms Pranks Wallace Fears and Dogs Degraded
JFK Offer to Kill Key and King at the Barbershop
The Treasure
For Where Your Treasure Is
The Doctor the Cad and angelic Teachers
Sarah hammering hank Seeds and mockingbirds
Leave The Grand Dragon alone
Stories That need Telling
Black in GreensboroThen and now
White in GreensboroThen and now
Better Than Themme and my hometown a Beginning

Slavery and the Slave Balcony
anonymous People mammys Passing Booker T and JmP

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About the author (2014)

With degrees from the University of Alabama, S. McEachin “Mac” Otts was a counselor and director of three private child welfare agencies plus a state membership association of such agencies. He received governors’ appointments for several terms on the board of the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and the State Children’s Policy Council. Today, in addition to writing, Mac is a part-time consultant. He and his wife, Carol, live in Mobile.

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