Cover image for Civil rights childhood
Civil rights childhood
Shakoor, Jordana Y., 1956-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, [1999]

Physical Description:
viii, 216 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : portraits ; 21 cm
Reading Level:
990 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.96 .S42 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Two voices blend in this poignant memoir from the Civil Rights era in Mississippi-a father's and a daughter's.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Shakoor's father and grandfather, Andrew and Cleveland Jordan, were involved in civil rights in the early '60s in Greenwood, Mississippi. Cleve was a struggling sharecropper, but son Andrew earned a college degree and became a schoolteacher. When SNCC volunteers came to town, Cleve was one of the brave townsfolk who made room for them. Andrew kept a low profile, avoiding demonstrations to protect his job, which supported his wife and five daughters. But Andrew became secretary of the town's new NAACP chapter and, when he and his wife tried to register to vote, quickly lost his teaching position. By the mid-'60s, the younger Jordans moved to Toledo; soon Andrew became a respected teacher in the Toledo school system. Shakoor blends her own memories with those of her father, from a journal he maintained (journal excerpts appear in italics). The two voices tell an intimate story of Delta deaths that became national news--Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner--and of how one family decided to stand its ground. --Mary Carroll

Publisher's Weekly Review

This heartfelt chronicle of a black family's courageous desire to remain in Mississippi from the 1930s to the mid-1960s despite the oppressive Jim Crow laws draws on the reminiscences of Andrew L. Jordan, the son of sharecroppers and a former executive director of the NAACP in Greenwood, Miss., who kept a diary that his daughter has lovingly framed with her own insights. Tracing her father's beginnings, Shakoor accurately describes the brutal exploitation of sharecroppers by their white overseers in the land of King Cotton. She unsparingly depicts the harsh traditions of Jim Crow and the evil fury of the Ku Klux Klanm as well as the strict code of legalized segregation that held black residents captive. One surprising anecdote introduces two white men of conscience, Mr. Jeff and Mr. Cole, who broke ranks and treated their black workers as equals. In some of the book's most evocative entries, Jordan conveys the grievous price exacted from those who put their lives on the line to dismantle segregation. Other standout sections deal with the vicious lynching of Emmitt Till in nearby Money, and the fearless leadership of Medgar Evers. Avoiding tearjerker prose, Shakoor describes the overwhelming pressures that finally forced her battered yet proud father to leave his beloved state for the dream of a better life in the North, though this coda lacks the power of earlier episodes. Readers seeking a view from the ground of one of the bloodiest civil rights battlefields will find this account by a pair of survivors engrossing and vital. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Memoriesp. vi
Prefacep. vii
Son of Mississippi Sharecroppersp. 3
Fear and Discriminationp. 15
Mama's Plantationp. 31
A Colored Soldierp. 51
A Lynching in Money, Mississippip. 67
Five Little Girlsp. 79
Granddaddy Jordan During the Strugglep. 101
A Teacher Takes a Standp. 113
The Death of a Leaderp. 135
Blackballed in Mississippip. 145
The Last Summerp. 159
Moving to Ohiop. 181
A Schoolteacherp. 201