Log In | Account Info
Cart | Checkout
Opening the Doors, Opening the Doors, 0817317929, 0-8173-1792-9, 978-0-8173-1792-8, 9780817317928, , , Opening the Doors, 0817386696, 0-8173-8669-6, 978-0-8173-8669-6, 9780817386696,

Opening the Doors
The Desegregation of the University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa
by B. J. Hollars

Trade Cloth
2013. 304 pp.
18 illustrations
Price:  $34.95 t
E Book
304 pp.
18 illustrations
Price:  $34.95 d

Opening the Doors is a wide-ranging account of the University of Alabama’s 1956 and 1963 desegregation attempts, as well as the little-known story of Tuscaloosa, Alabama’s, own civil rights movement.

Whereas E. Culpepper Clark’s The Schoolhouse Door remains the standard history of the University of Alabama’s desegregation, in Opening the Doors B. J. Hollars focuses on Tuscaloosa’s purposeful divide between “town” and “gown,” providing a new contextual framework for this landmark period in civil rights history. 

The image of George Wallace’s stand in the schoolhouse door has long burned in American consciousness; however, just as interesting are the circumstances that led him there in the first place, a process that proved successful due to the concerted efforts of dedicated student leaders, a progressive university president, a steadfast administration, and secret negotiations between the U.S. Justice Department, the White House, and Alabama’s stubborn governor.

In the months directly following Governor Wallace’s infamous stand, Tuscaloosa became home to a leader of a very different kind: twenty-eight-year-old African American reverend T. Y. Rogers, an up-and-comer in the civil rights movement, as well as the protégé of Martin Luther King Jr. After taking a post at Tuscaloosa’s First African Baptist Church, Rogers began laying the groundwork for the city’s own civil rights movement. In the summer of 1964, the struggle for equality in Tuscaloosa resulted in the integration of the city’s public facilities, a march on the county courthouse, a bloody battle between police and protesters, confrontations with the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, a bus boycott, and the near-accidental-lynching of movie star Jack Palance. 

Relying heavily on new firsthand accounts and personal interviews, newspapers, previously classified documents, and archival research, Hollars’s in-depth reporting reveals the courage and conviction of a town, its university, and the people who call it home.

B. J. Hollars is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and the author of Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence, and the Last Lynching in America.

“B.J. Hollars has written an important, fascinating, and timely book about the desegregation era.”—Winston Groom, author of Shiloh, 1862; The Crimson Tide: The Official Illustrated History of Alabama Football, National Championship Edition; Vicksburg, 1863; and Forrest Gump

“Through its clear, journalistic style and logical structure, Opening the Doors tells a story that has been relevant since America’s founding and continues to be relevant today.”—The Los Angeles Review

“Anyone who loves history and Alabama will love this book. Hollars has the ability to always keep readers anticipating what will happen next. No other account gives a better background on this topic.”—Linda R. Beito, coauthor of Black Maverick: T. R. M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power

“This is a serious, high-minded, thoroughly researched piece of work by a very capable writer. The most important contribution of this book is to place the nationally symbolic story of the University of Alabama’s desegregation in the same context with the intense local struggle for civil rights that was taking place concurrently in Tuscaloosa, which is almost entirely overlooked in much of the civil rights literature. Hollars’s book goes a long way toward addressing that oversight and thus tells a story that most readers will find unfamiliar, yet intriguing.”—Frye Gaillard, author of Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement that Changed America and Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail: An Illustrated Guide to the Cradle of Freedom

"Opening the Doors is an insistence upon the long second look. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, becomes not that racist southern town trying to keep the blacks out of its university, but instead, and deservedly, a complicated city and people in the throes of social change. A city of multiplicities." —The Colorado Review

Also of Interest

Thirteen Loops
B. J. Hollars

Schoolhouse Door
by E. Culpepper Clark

Alabama's Civil Rights Trail
by Frye Gaillard

Anna's Shtetl
Lawrence A. Coben