Taming the Storm: The Life and Times of Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., and the South's Fight over Civil Rights

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Thrust into the center of a raging storm over civil rights, Frank M. Johnson, Jr., was the youngest federal judge in the country at the time of his appointment in 1955. During his twenty-four years on the district court in Montgomery, Alabama, Johnson handed down a string of precedent-setting decisions that were vastly unpopular at the time but that would prove to have profound consequences for America's future.

Not only did Johnson's trailblazing opinions greatly expand the access of African Americans to their constitutional rights, but his opinions also helped to dismantle discrimination against women, prison inmates, and the mentally ill. Johnson paid a heavy price for his judicial vision, however, for he had to endure public scorn, death threats, and the outrage of a society that felt itself and its values to be under siege. Eventually Johnson prevailed, winning honor even in his native Alabama and a respected place in the history of the civil rights movement. Taming the Storm is the story of an authentic American hero and the era he did so much to define.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Taming the Storm describes the triumph of wisdom, tenacity, and personal courage—an inspiring story.”—President Jimmy Carter

"Taming the Storm is everything a good biography should be."—Washington Post Book World

"It is a story none of us should ever forget."—Warren E. Burger, U.S. Chief Justice

Taming the Storm is everything a good biography should be.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"The definitive biography of this legendary judge."—New York Times Book Review

"A fine salute to a brave man with an enormous respect for justice."—Washington Post Book World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820325316
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 11/22/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Bass is an emeritus professor of humanities and social sciences at the College of Charleston. His many books include The Palmetto State: The Making of Modern South Carolina and Strom: The Complicated Personal and Political Life of Strom Thurmond.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Prelude 1
Chapter 1 Searching for Roots 3
Chapter 2 The Free State of Winston 12
Chapter 3 The Growing-Up Years 18
Chapter 4 Manhood Responsibilities 39
Chapter 5 Off to the War 56
Chapter 6 A Good Life in Jasper 68
Chapter 7 Road to Montgomery 80
Chapter 8 A Long Row to Hoe 95
Chapter 9 Johnson and Rives 107
Chapter 10 Early Years in Montgomery 118
Chapter 11 A Trailblazing Court 132
Chapter 12 The Evolving Storm 142
Chapter 13 Freedom Riders 173
Chapter 14 The Break with Little George 184
Chapter 15 Close to Home 197
Chapter 16 Ticking the Last Tick 207
Chapter 17 Selma 236
Chapter 18 Family Sorrows 260
Chapter 19 Neighborhood Schools 262
Chapter 20 Justice Johnson--Almost 274
Chapter 21 The Right to Treatment 277
Chapter 22 A Hell of a Day 304
Chapter 23 Unfit for Human Habitation 323
Chapter 24 Going to the FBI 347
Chapter 25 Putting My Hay Down 362
Chapter 26 Troopers 373
Chapter 27 Overcoming Discrimination 383
Chapter 28 Recognition and Acclaim 393
Chapter 29 Appellate Judge 408
Chapter 30 An Onerous Job 429
Chapter 31 The Death Penalty 448
Chapter 32 Mark of a Man 456
Notes 471
Appendix 493
Index 497
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