For 40 years, justice had gone undone in the brutal murder of four young girls in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Forty years of pain and hurt for the families of those young girls and their community. Forty years of the Klan laughing at justice, getting away with the act of a coward. Doug Jones said no more. Justice had to be done. Those young girls deserved it. Their families deserved it. The community needed it. It took courage, commitment, and persistence. Andmaybe most of allheart.” former vice president Joe Biden
“This book describes the painful sacrifice that was required, and may be called for again, for us to move toward true democracy in America. Facing the truth of our dark past with honesty and humility is the only way this nation can heal these deep wounds. But knowing the truth Jones shares in this book can set this nation free to earnestly build a more perfect union.” Rep. John Lewis
“Doug Jones has proven himself adept at getting right with history against tall odds, whether it’s in his prosecution of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case or his election to the U. S. Senate. Bending Toward Justice is his riveting inside account of arguably the most important cold case prosecution in civil rights history, and a crucial contribution to our understanding of where we areand he istoday.” Diane McWhorter, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Carry Me Home: Birmingham, AlabamaThe Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution
“Lively...The bulk of this compelling account focuses on that extraordinary trial and 2001 conviction. A useful firsthand account of a series of civil rights landmarks, with some additional analysis of our current political climate.” Kirkus Review
"A deeply affecting portrait of the devastation wrought by the 16th Street Church bombing and the enduring blight and bitterness it left in the black community." Booklist Review
“This book ought to be studied by national Democrats looking to rescue populist idealism from its Trumpian captivity.” Howell Raines, New York Times Book Review
"This poignant and powerful story tracks changes in Southern life since the 1960s, uncovering hard truths to correct America’s moral compass with an understanding of the need for activism and political discourse to achieve social justice.” Thomas J. Davis, Library Journal Review
A former U.S. attorney nominated by Bill Clinton chronicles his successful attempt to prosecute the last of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church bombers.
Jones has led a rather remarkable career. His most recent accomplishment was a victory in a special election that made him Alabama's first Democratic Senator since 1992; he defeated Republican Roy Moore for Jeff Sessions' vacated Senate seat. Raised in the Jim Crow era of segregated Birmingham, the author was deeply influenced as a young college student by the model lawyer Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. More importantly, in 1977, he watched Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley work a legal miracle by securing a murder conviction against "Dynamite" Bob Chambliss, the Klansman who had eluded justice 14 years earlier for the bombing that killed four African-American girls. In this lively first-person account, written with Truman, Jones (b. 1954) walks us through his early life as a middle-class white boy who grew up mostly unaware of racial tensions in the Birmingham suburbs—until 1963, when white supremacists launched a campaign of terror against the civil rights protesters, especially the young people's demonstrations at the 16th Street Baptist Church. The author was 9 when the horrendous bombing occurred. The subsequent FBI investigation went on for years and was thwarted at every turn, shut down in 1968 without any charges against the three prime suspects: Chambliss, Tommy Blanton, and Bobby Frank Cherry. As an up-and-coming federal prosecutor and defense attorney, Jones tied himself to the Democratic Party. Building on what he had witnessed Baxley achieve, he decided it was time to strike at Blanton when he was nominated U.S. Attorney in 1997. The bulk of this compelling account focuses on that extraordinary trial and 2001 conviction.
A useful firsthand account of a series of civil rights landmarks, with some additional analysis of our current political climate.
On September 15, 1963, prosegregation terrorists set fire to the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, killing four black girls—Addie May Collins, Carol Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley—and injuring 22 others. For years no perpetrators faced justice. Jones, elected in December 2017 as Alabama's first Democratic U.S. senator since 1992, chronicles how that changed. He credits a quest for justice that Alabama Attorney General William Baxley launched in the 1970s. Jones closed the quest in 2000–02 as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, leading the prosecution of two remaining Ku Klux Klan bombers. Here, Jones presents a work that is part memoir, part history detailing his efforts to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, while unfolding an account of how elected and appointed officials enforced Jim Crow laws in the 1960s and were complacent with white supremacy. VERDICT This poignant and powerful story tracks changes in Southern life since the 1960s, uncovering hard truths to correct America's moral compass with an understanding of the need for activism and political discourse to achieve social justice.—Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe