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

8
King on Trial

LESS THAN A MONTH after the mass arrests, on March 19 at 11 A.M., Circuit Judge Eugene Carter called the court to order. He asked, "Which case are you going to try first?"

The largest courtroom in the old courthouse on Washington Street was filled with spectators, witnesses, and representatives of the press. Circuit solicitor William Thetford, a mature, seasoned prosecutor, was flanked by his two assistants, Robert B. Stewart, a veteran attorney best known at the time for having been Hank Williams's personal lawyer, and young Maury D. Smith, who would become well known as a tenacious and hardworking lawyer in the solicitor's office and, later, in private practice. Thetford answered, "The King case." It was styled The State of Alabama v. M. L. King, Jr.

Heading the defense was Arthur D. Shores, a distinguished black lawyer from Birmingham who was already at the forefront of civil rights litigation. Dressed in a black pinstriped three-piece suit, he was tall, and touches of gray ribboned his wavy hair and a perfectly trimmed thin mustache. Shores, a former high school principal, was known throughout the South as

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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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