John Ehle's The Free Men, the story of the civil rights movement in Chapel Hill in 1963-64, is back in print after more than 40 years. As I said a few months ago when I chaired a panel on this period for the Southern Historical Collection in UNC's Wilson Library, this book ought to be required reading in Chapel Hill. And perhaps that says too little. It's important local history, but it also tells in microcosm the much larger story of the sacrifice and commitment that black (and a few white) Americans demonstrated in order to gain the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Thanks to former Council member Joe Herzenberg for coming to our meeting last night and calling it to our attention.
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