Never judge a man by the color of his skin, the way he wears his hair or the clothes on his back, but by his soul. Words to live by as stated by the late Dr. Martin Luther King. We need to build an air of trust and understanding in order to live together. This brings me to my review of Crossing the Line by Richard Doster.
As the book opens we meet sports reporter Jack Hall who uproots his family and moves to Atlanta taking a job writing for the Atlanta Constitution and moves his family south. This is the first step to many life changing experiences and new friendships that would forever create a history of their own. Starting out as a sportswriter, the editor of his paper asks him to do a piece about an incident that happened in Montgomery, Alabama. Little does he know that this was not just any incident but one that would change the way people throughout the state of Alabama and the United States would view people of other races. Rosa Parks, a seamstress by one simple act, of refusing to give up her seat to a white person in the front of the bus, and sit in the back, started a chain of events that not only rocked Montgomery but the entire nation. Jack Hall, asked by his boss, to go to Montgomery and meet with Martin King a young pastor, to find out more about what happened and to bring back a story.
Book review for bookpleasures.com
Taking that story and expanding it into more than just a newspaper piece was Jack Hall’s dream. Dalton Dorsey, another member of the Atlanta Constitution staff had the same dream. Together, they met with Martin King, the senior Martin Luther King and members of their churches and congregations and wrote an article so powerful and so compelling that Life Magazine printed it and the world learned of what was happening not only in Montgomery, Alabama but also to all people of other races in many walks of life.
As Jack Hall interviewed and met with Martin King I could hear his voice resonating in my head the words he spoke came to life. Rosa Parks helped start a movement so great that everyone respects and remembers the bus boycott and the impact it made not only in Montgomery but also everywhere in our country.
But, Jack Hall did not stop there. He had a vision just like Dr. King. With the aide of his new neighbors, who were predominantly white, and his friend Dalton Dorsey, they would create their own magazine with their own brand of journalism.
When Martin King met with Jack Hall when the courts decided in their favor, they both took a ride with many others in the buses for the first time and wherever they wanted. A great start but only the beginning for the people of Montgomery and the end of segregation. Not only would they eliminate it on buses but in the schools and other places too. One woman standing for her right to sit where she wanted, one day, December 5, 1955, and the entire world would see and hear what we should have known all along. Segregation is wrong.
But, the fight just started and more homes would be burned and more lives would be lost before this was over. From Little Rock Arkansas and the fight for integration in the schools, to the riots in the streets and the bombings of homes this book leads us through a difficult time for everyone. Change is hard and often comes at a price.
Martin Luther King Jr., Sam Phillips the founder and creator of Sam’s Records and the man who introduced us to the Blues, Rock n’ Roll and Elvis. The man who realized who Elvis really was and where he came from. This book Describes the day the first Negro students were supposed to come to Central High and start the process of integration. The nightmare when 17young children were supposed enter Little Rock Central High and the protests, angry mobs that and courts that would prevent them from getting what is so rightfully theirs: an education.
Jack Hall, Dalton Dorsey, Alan Emerson, Flannery O’Connor, Percy Sutton, Chris Hall and Ansley and so many others who believed in what Dr. King did and what Rosa Parks had started.
Three men-one-goal-one changes to create change: You can’t force people to change as the author states, you can only try to inspire it and they will love you forever. That is what Hall and Dorsey did to change the thinking of their wives, children and their community. What Sam Phillips did for music, what Harper Lee and Flannery O’Connor did for literature and so many more- makes us remember that this is America and we are all Americans and we did not get there by the color of our skin. Dr. King had a dream that all people of every race and creed would have the same freedoms and live together in peace. He believed in non-violence and reason. If we could translate his dreams and what Hall and Dorsey and so many more succeeded in doing to those in the countries that are presently at war and create a World of Beauty Magazine geared to showing how great this planet it, maybe they would appreciate the land where they live and embrace it, not destroy it.
Crossing the line opened the lines of communication and helped filter out misconceptions about people, and started a dialogue of hope and understanding between Blacks and Whites and all people. Although we are not completely there as we can tell by the situation throughout the world, perhaps in the future we will not have to deal with hate and hate crimes and we will learn tolerance and understanding try to embrace our differences and cultures.
This book should be on the shelf of every college, high school, elementary and public library. It should be the required reading of children in every school. I learned so much about what happened during a time that I grew up that I did not know about. I would highly recommend this book as a must read.