The Thunder of Angels: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the People Who Broke the Back of Jim Crow

By Donnie Williams; Wayne Greenhaw | Go to book overview

6
The White Preacher

WHEN TOMMY JOE LONG was talking about the white preacher, he was referring to the Reverend Robert S. Graetz. One of the least understood of all the strong supporters of the boycott, Graetz, a short, slender minister of an all-black church, first heard about Rosa Parks's arrest from her the morning after she was taken to jail.

Graetz was a native of Charleston, West Virginia, where, as one letter writer to the Advertiser pointed out, the radical abolitionist John Brown was hanged, and where, the same pundit suggested, the residents should do the same with Graetz. Of German heritage, he had attended all-white public schools— the only blacks he knew personally were the janitors.

But in his junior year at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, while doing research for a paper on discrimination against Jews in higher education, he discovered that black people had been almost completely excluded from many U.S. institutions of higher education. "That revelation altered my life and my ministry forever," he recalls. He switched his major to social science, started a race relations club, and joined the

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The Thunder of Angels: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the People Who Broke the Back of Jim Crow
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents vii
  • Author's Note ix
  • Preface - America's Bus xi
  • Preface - A Personal History xv
  • 1: Before the Beginning 1
  • 2: His Own Man 21
  • 3: A Reporter's Scoop 67
  • 4: Hanging from the Stars 89
  • 5: Rough Days and Dangerous Nights 115
  • 6: The White Preacher 137
  • 7: The White Establishment Uses the Law 147
  • 8: King on Trial 177
  • 9: In Federal Court 207
  • 10: A Long, Hot Summer 223
  • 11: [A Glorious Daybreak] 235
  • Epilogue 257
  • Acknowledgments 275
  • Notes and Sources 277
  • Bibliography 283
  • Index 287
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