This “sure-to-be-classic account of 1960s desegregation” (Los Angeles Times) tells the inspiring story of the Carters, black Mississippi sharecroppers who sent their children to integrate an all-white school system. “Silver Rights is pure gold!” (Julian Bond). Introduction by Marian Wright Edelman.
Part narrative, part oral history, this book reclaims a little-known but compelling story about America's uneven progress toward racial justice. The title refers to the locution used by black country folk for ``civil rights,'' an elusive goal in the Mississippi Delta town of Drew, where sharecroppers Matthew and Mae Bertha Carter were the only black parents brave enough to send their kids to newly desegregated schools. Curry, a white field-worker for the American Friends Service Committee, visited the Carters between 1966 and 1975 and monitored their struggle; she here blends her own reflections with Mae Bertha's stories of courage and her children's tales of endurance. Edelman, as an NAACP Defense Fund lawyer, sued the local school district for maintaining segregated facilities despite the law. What emerges most clearly is the Carters' earnest, almost nave belief in justice: when the plantation overseer advised them to return their kids to the black schools, Mae Bertha played a record of President Kennedy's speech supporting the Civil Rights Act. The family endured much harassment, but seven of the 13 Carter children attended the better-equipped white schools and graduated from the only slightly less hostile University of Mississippi. Now daughter Beverly, the only Carter child to return home, is helping her mother fight for black political power. Photos. Author tour. (Oct.)