If Your Back's Not Bent: A Civil Rights Leader on the Roads from Victims to Victory - eBook
If Your Back's Not Bent: A Civil Rights Leader on the Roads from Victims to Victory - eBook  -     By: Dorothy Cotton, Vincent Harding
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Atria Books / 2012 / ePub
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If Your Back's Not Bent: A Civil Rights Leader on the Roads from Victims to Victory - eBook

Atria Books / 2012 / ePub

In Stock
Stock No: WW20220EB


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Product Description

Dorothy Cotton, recently honored with a Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum, is the former director for the Southern Christian Leader Conference's Citizens Education Project. Ms. Cotton was at the front lines in the fight for civil rights. In If Your Back's Not Bent she shares an up-close and personal account of those turbulent times, as no one else can.
Born into poverty in North Carolina, she survived deprivation and racism by seeking solace in books and spirituality, worked her way through college, earned a master's degree, and married. But something was missing. She found it through her work with the Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., then a charismatic young preacher. She became a member of his Executive Committee for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, training and organizing men and women across the South to participate in nonviolent demonstrations, including the fateful 1963 Birmingham campaign. After King's death, she continued her work as an activist, serving as vice president of field operations for the King Center for Nonviolent Change. Today she speaks around the world, from Africa to China, and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the BBC, PBS' American Experience, and many more.

Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Atria Books
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 9781439187425
ISBN-13: 9781439187425

Publisher's Description

“Nobody can ride your back if your back’s not bent,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said at the end of a Citizenship Education Program (CEP), an adult grassroots training program directed by Dorothy Cotton. This program, called the best-kept secret of the twentieth century’s civil rights movement, was critical in preparing legions of disenfranchised people across the South to work with existing systems of local government to gain access to services and resources they were entitled to as citizens. They learned to demonstrate peacefully against injustice, even when they were met with violence and hatred. The CEP was born out of the work of the Tennessee Highlander Folk School and was fully developed and expanded by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference led by Dr. King until that fateful day in Memphis in April 1968. Cotton was checked into the Lorraine Motel at that time as well, but she’d left to do the work of the CEP before the assassin’s bullet was fired.

If Your Back’s Not Bent recounts the accomplishments and the drama of this training that was largely ignored by the media, which had focused its attention on marches and demonstrations. This book describes who participated and how they were transformed—men and women alike—from victims to active citizens, and how they transformed their communities and ultimately the country into a place of greater freedom and justice for all. Cotton, the only woman in Dr. King’s inner circle of leadership, for the first time offers her account of the movement, correcting the historical impression that “we only marched and sang.” She shows how the CEP was key to the movement’s success, and how the lessons of the program can serve our democracy now. People, and therefore systems, can indeed change “if your back’s not bent.”

Editorial Reviews

“A distinct reminder that women have been endlessly omitted from the written histories of civil rights movements.”
“Dorothy Cotton has given us the story of the heart and lungs of the Freedom Struggle.”
“Dorothy Cotton is an inspiration to so many. We should all pay close attention to her story.”
“A much-needed female perspective on life on the front lines with Martin Luther King, Jr.”
“Dorothy Cotton was as crucial to the Movement as was King, Abernathy and Shuttlesworth in her dogged preparation of the ‘troops.’”
“Cotton’s Citizenship Education Program taught ordinary people, most importantly, that they could change both themselves and America.”
“Superb book . . . . Read it, be inspired, and act.”

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