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Carl Maxey: A Fighting Life
     

Carl Maxey: A Fighting Life

by Jim Kershner
 

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Carl Maxey was, in his own words, “a guy who started from scratch - black scratch.” He was sent, at age five, to the scandal-ridden Spokane Children's Home and then kicked out at age eleven with the only other “colored” orphan. Yet Maxey managed to make a national name for himself, first as an NCAA championship boxer at Gonzaga

Overview

Carl Maxey was, in his own words, “a guy who started from scratch - black scratch.” He was sent, at age five, to the scandal-ridden Spokane Children's Home and then kicked out at age eleven with the only other “colored” orphan. Yet Maxey managed to make a national name for himself, first as an NCAA championship boxer at Gonzaga University, and then as eastern Washington's first prominent black lawyer and a renowned civil rights attorney who always fought for the underdog.

During the tumultuous civil rights and Vietnam War eras, Carl Maxey fought to break down color barriers in his hometown of Spokane and throughout the nation. As a defense lawyer, he made national headlines working on lurid murder cases and war-protest trials, including the notorious Seattle Seven trial. He even took his commitment to justice and antiwar causes to the political arena, running for the U.S. Senate against powerhouse senator Henry M. Jackson.

In Carl Maxey: A Fighting Life, Jim Kershner explores the sources of Maxey's passions as well as the price he ultimately paid for his struggles. The result is a moving portrait of a man called a “Type-A Gandhi” by the New York Times, whose own personal misfortune spurred his lifelong, tireless crusade against injustice.

Editorial Reviews

Law & Politic
Reads like a modern Dickens tale.

Columbia
As with any well-constructed biography, we finish the book feeling that we have just met someone personally. Carl Maxey: A Fighting Life is a fitting tribute to a controversial ground breaker in our state's history. Today it is actually much more than that. It stands as evidence testifying to the hard road traveled by many African Americans and thus a tribute to the recent accomplishment of our 44th president.

Seattle Times
Kershner uses the story of Maxey's life to show the barriers that African Americans faced in Spokane, even though the city was not in the South and could pride itself in having no segregation laws. . .The state has changed since then. This book is the story of one man who helped change it.

Law & Politic
Reads like a modern Dickens tale.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780295992310
Publisher:
University of Washington Press
Publication date:
11/27/2012
Series:
V. Ethel Willis White Books Series
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
497,784
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Jess Walter
An essential biography of one city's civil rights hero, wonderfully written and impeccably researched. . . . Carl Maxey was a man whose complicated life transcended its own gripping details to mirror a turbulent time in our recent history, a time when it seemed as if race and justice would forever run on separate tracks.

Carlos Schwantes
Jim Kershner's biography of activist Carl Maxey is not only inspirational and informative, but because it is so well written it is also a pleasure to read.

Meet the Author

Jim Kershner is a journalist for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane.

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