Carl Maxey: A Fighting Life

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...

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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.

University of Washington Press

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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295988467
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 6/24/2008
  • Series: V Ethel Willis White Books
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

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

University of Washington Press

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments1. An Orphan's Fire2. A Father in Black Robes3. The Count and the Club4. Walking Right into Trouble5. King Carl Wins the Crown6. Eastern Washington's First Black Lawyer7. Stirrings from the South8. The Haircut Uproar and a Perfunctory Execution9. Freedom Summer in the Tail End of America10. "The Sickness of Our Nation"11. A Right Hook to Scoop Jackson12. The Seattle Seven Circus13. The Maxey Temper14. Ruth Coe's Greek Tragedy15. "No Goddamned Award"16. "Living through All This B.S."17. Type-A GandhiNotes on SourcesIndex

University of Washington Press

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