by Harold C. Ford
“A riot is the language of the unheard.” —Martin Luther King
“The officer hit him and said, ‘We’re going to kill all of you black-ass nigger pimps and throw you in the river. We’re going to fill up the Detroit River with all you pimps and whores’”
–from The Algiers Motel Incident, John Hersey, 1968
1960s Mississippi? No, 1960s Detroit. During the evening/early-morning hours of July 25-26, 1967 law enforcement officers led by three members of the Detroit Police Department (DPD) terrorized and brutally beat a dozen persons lodged at the Algiers Motel annex at 8301 Woodward Avenue, only one mile east of 12th Street and Clairmount Avenue where the 1967 Detroit rebellion began. The unfolding civil unrest in Detroit gripped the nation as described by author John Hersey in his 1968 book:
“On television sets across the country viewers sat amazed, that night, if not horrified at the sight of American tanks rolling throughout the streets of an American city on the hunt for American citizens, and of military helicopters hovering over Detroit rooftops; memories stirred in my mind, at these images, of the nightmares of Warsaw in 1943, Budapest in 1956, Santo Domingo in 1965. During this insane night Tonia Blanding, a four-year-old black child, with her family and friends in an apartment from which sniper fire had been reported, was killed by a burst from a tank’s .50-caliber machine gun when someone in the room with her lit a cigarette and the flaring match was taken for the flash at the mouth of a sniper’s weapon; and Helen Hall, a fifty-year-old white woman from Oakdale, Connecticut, visiting Detroit to help inventory some electrical supplies her employers had purchased, was killed as she stood at a fourth-floor window of the Harlan House Motel, just after she had called to other motel guests to come and watch a tank in the street and had yanked the curtain back to give them a better view.”
Many historians judge the five-day conflagration in 1967 Detroit to be the third worst in our nation’s history, surpassed only by the New York City draft riots of 1863 (120 deaths) and the 1992 Los Angles riots (60 deaths). The Detroit unrest ended with over 2500 stores looted or burned, nearly 400 families made homeless, hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, more than 7200 arrests, nearly 1200 injured, and 43 people dead.
The most notorious of the deaths were those of Aubrey Pollard, 19, Fred Temple, 18, and Carl Cooper 17 at the Algiers Motel annex. Each was unarmed, shot at close range, and while in defensive postures. Each suffered wounds administered by 00 buckshot, the same kind used in shotguns that were issued to members of the DPD.
The movie: “Detroit”
There was no one in the theater as I arrived for the 10:20 p.m. showing of “Detroit” at the Rave Flint West 14 cinema Aug.16. Not one person. The film had been made available for general release only 12 days earlier on Aug. 4.
The film is in trouble at the box office. It landed in the number eight position on its opening weekend wedged between “Atomic Blonde” (second weekend) and “War for the Planet of the Apes” (fourth weekend).
“Its $7.1 million opening was the lowest this year of any film opening in more than 3,000 theaters, lower than even “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul”, according to The Detroit News. In its second weekend, “the film dropped five spots to the number 13 position, with a 58 percent dip from the previous week. To date the movie, which carries a budget estimated between $35-40 million has earned just $13.4 million.”
The film has already disappeared from the lineup at one of my favorite Detroit-area theaters—the Royal Main Art in Royal Oak, only minutes from the Motor City. This sobering depiction of 1967 Detroit didn’t last two weeks at a suburban Detroit theater that markets itself as a serious and progressive venue for films.
As I drove myself home from the empty house at Rave Flint West 14 at 1 a.m., I passed The Keg Bar at the corner of Van Slyke and Hemphill Roads. The parking lot was filled beyond capacity; some 50 cars overflowed into adjoining parking lots. The fenced-in outdoor terrace was abuzz with 40 to 50 happy, imbibed patrons while many more were inside. The juxtaposition of a rollicking packed pub and an empty movie house showing a film about the deadliest civil rebellion in Michigan history, one that unfolded a mere 65 miles down the highway, was dispiriting.
The star power and film making chops of “Detroit” director Katherine Bigelow is beyond question. Her last film was the highly acclaimed “Zero Dark Thirty.” Her previous film, “The Hurt Locker”, netted her the Oscar for best director. I was stunned that a woman directed “The Hurt Locker,” a film that so vividly captured the interplay between testosterone-loaded men—edgy, tempestuous interplay that might easily turn violent. She surely wasn’t there the night I and a Vietnam vet buddy got drunked up and playfully, but violently, beat one another black and blue to the extent the next work-day was missed. Was she?
Apparently, Bigelow’s incredible gift at capturing the behavior of another gender on film, aided by screenwriter Mark Boal, did not transition, for some, into capturing the victimhood of black people in white racist America. Movie reviewer Angelica Jade Bastien left the theater in tears after viewing “Detroit” but was nonetheless critical of Bigelow’s direction:
“‘Detroit’ is ultimately a confused film that has an ugliness reflected in its visual craft and narrative. Bigelow is adept at making the sharp crack of an officer’s gun against a black man’s face feel impactful but doesn’t understand the meaning of the emotional scars left behind or how they echo through American history. ‘Detroit’ is a hollow spectacle, displaying rank racism and countless deaths that has nothing to say about race, the justice system, police brutality, or the city that gives it its title.”
I’m not so sure. Despite Bastien’s critique, “Detroit” has generally fared well with reviewers. It scored 83 percent positive reviews from 168 critics at the Rotten Tomatoes website. The “audience score” is a similarly lofty 79 percent. So where are the moviegoers?
It could be that Americans aren’t ready to break their addiction for fantasy films that dominate movie marquees. The top five grossing films thus far in 2017, in order, are: “Beauty and the Beast”; “Wonder Woman”; “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”; “Spider-Man: Homecoming”; and “Despicable Me 3”.
Likewise, the remainder of the top 100 grossing films in 2017 is uber-dominated by escapist, fanciful flicks. The first serious film on the list is “Dunkirk” at number 13. Facing annihilation by the armed forces of Nazi Germany, “Dunkirk” depicts the harrowing rescue of 400,000 allied soldiers in 1940—one of the key turning points in World War II. “Dunkirk” doubled the international box office of its nearest competitor on its opening weekend in late-July and has grossed nearly $380 million thus far. So there is an audience for serious films about serious topics.
It may be that America is already preoccupied with its original sin and resultant legacy: Akiel Denkins, 24; Gregory Gunn, 58; Samuel Dubose, 43; Brendon Glenn, 29; Freddie Gray, 25; Natasha McKenna, 37; Walter Scott, 50; Christian Taylor, 19; Michael Brown Jr., 18; Ezell Ford, 25; Eric Garner, 43; Akai Gurley, 28; LaQuan McDonald 17; Tamir Rice, 12; Yvette Smith 47; Jamar Clark 24; Rekia Boyd, 22; Shereese Francis, 29; Ramarley Graham, 18; Manuel Loggins Jr., 31; Sean Bell, 23; Ronald Madison, 40; Kendra James, 21; Amadou Diallo, 22.
According to the LA Times, “Each was a black man or woman who died at the hands of police. Their names represent only a handful of cases since 1999, when Diallo, an unarmed man standing in a New York City doorway, was gunned down by officers who erroneously thought he had a gun.”
According to the Guardian, “Black males aged 15-34 were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by law enforcement officers last year, according to data collected for The Counted, an effort by the Guardian to record every such death. They were also killed at four times the rate of young white men.”
The low box office numbers for “Detroit” may be the consequence of a mass media already saturated with stories of our nation’s struggle with race relations. With the tacit support of a morally challenged president, the emboldened forces of fascism and white supremacy crawled into the limelight last week with an in-your-face display in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia.
Bigelow, however, had a more direct explanation for her film’s low box office. She told The Guardian, “There’s a radical desire not to face the reality of race.” With some appreciation for Bigelow’s sentiment, this white writer will nonetheless move forward with a discussion of Hersey’s book for a predominantly white readership.
The book: The Algiers Motel Incident
“There is no such thing as objective reportage,” celebrated author John Hersey warns near the beginning of his heroic attempt to sort out the messy, violent affairs that unfolded at the Algiers Motel at the height of the Detroit rebellion. Thus, he decided that “the story would have to be told as much as possible in the words of the participants” in first-person style.
Hersey’s no-holds-barred best-seller represented a radical desire “to face the reality of race”…and sex. He unflinchingly criticized the President’s Commission on Civil Disorders, published in March 1968 in response to the urban rebellions in Detroit and elsewhere, for avoiding the topic of sex. “There was not a whisper in all its pages about sex, which I believe to be at the very core of racism,” he wrote.
Among the victims of police brutality during that July 1967 night at Algiers were two young white women from Ohio, Julie Hysell and Karen Malloy. Their presence in the company of black men particularly enraged some of the law enforcers who stormed the Algiers Motel looking for a suspected sniper and his weapon.
“One of the policemen,” (witness Roderick Davis told Hersey), “told the girls to take off their clothes. Senak (a DPD officer) pulled them out to the center of the room. Tore one of them’s dress off—hooked it with the thing on the end of his gun—and made the other one pull her dress off. He said, ‘Why you got to fuck them? What’s wrong with us, you nigger lovers?’”
With this account, supported by other witnesses, Hersey may have scraped the scab off the festering American wound that propels our national embarrassment of racism and our seeming inability to find its cure. Our conversation about race may prove futile until we include sex.
Hersey picked at the scab in a conversation with DPD officer Senak: “Do you think,” Hersey asked him, “that this has made you think of women as essentially evil, or more apt to be criminal than men?” His answer was: “Who gave who the apple?”
Filmmaker Bigelow seemed to understand the importance of race and sex in making “Detroit”. “Hysell was on set nearly every day of shooting, advising Bigelow on the movie’s accuracy. In between scenes, the cast would pepper her with questions about that night.”
The picture of America painted in the 334 pages of Hersey’s “Algiers” leads the reader to conclude that urban explosions and cops-killing-blacks tragedies were/are unavoidable. Hersey endeavored to tell the Detroit story from both sides.
Hersey confessed his challenge in telling the story from the view of a young black man. “This is the hardest part of this book to write. I want to bring out before your eyes and ears some aspects of the life of a young black man in a city.”
He focused on Robert Pollard, the brother of murdered Aubrey Pollard, for this purpose. Robert verbally intervened one night at Twenty Grand nightclub when brother Aubrey was being beaten by DPD officers:
“And so anyway they took us down in the basement, to this little room. That’s when they beat me up, when they took me down there. One of them was holding me, and another was talking about, ‘Where do you get hitting me at?’ I said, ‘I didn’t hit you.’ And he says, ‘Yes you did.’ Other one says, ‘That’s the one. That’s the one hit you. Go ahead.’ And then one policeman run up to you and hit you, and then another one run up to you and hit you. And then they’d hold you up, you know, and hit you in the stomach and stuff, you know, and hit you in the teeth, you know.”
“This one big fat guy, he bashed my leg and my spine. And knots all over my head, broke my tooth off, and all that. I had a couple of cuts from the sticks.”
In 1967 the Detroit Police Department was about 95 percent white in a city that was about 40 percent black. According to Hersey, “there were approximately 250 Negro police officers in Detroit out of a total of approximately 4,400.”
To say the least, the relationship between the DPD and its black citizens was challenged. Hersey addressed this in the first chapter of the book titled “Do You Hate the Police?” Shocked by the unconfirmed news that his stepson Carl Cooper had been killed at Algiers, Omar Gill attempted to confirm this with a phone call to the DPD:
“So that’s when I went to the phone and called the hotel, and so when I called, a policeman answered the phone, the switchboard operator didn’t answer, a police answered. So I told him, I said ‘Look a guy just called me and told me that my son was dead and I’d like to come over there and see if he’s dead, you know?’ I said that, and so he told me, he said, ‘You know you can’t come over here.’ I said, ‘What do you mean I can’t come over there? My son is dead, and I can’t come over?’ He said, ‘If you bring your goddam ass over here you’ll be dead just like him.’”
Thirty-four of the 43 Detroit rebellion deaths were at the hands of law enforcement officials or the National Guard. In the 1960s there were 163 incidents of urban uprisings; most of those didn’t involve any deaths, according to New York University’s Thomas Sugrue who authored “The Origins of the Urban Crisis” and wrote an introduction to the 1997 reissue of Hersey’s 1968 book. “Detroit counted for the lion’s share of deaths,” he said.
In this context of a long and challenged history between the DPD and Detroit’s black citizens, a weary band of law enforcers arrived at the Algiers Motel responding to reports of snipers. Earlier that day, DPD members had learned that one of their fellow officers, Jerome Olshove, had been killed in a tussle with a looter that became deadly. Olshove was widely respected in the department and news of his death unnerved many of the DPD officers. Officer Senak set the scene in an interview with Hersey:
“We had guys there at roll call that were like brothers to him, couldn’t go on the street for a half hour, forty-five minutes. They were crying like babies.”
Senak, nicknamed “Snake”, had killed a looter the day before that emerged unarmed from a supermarket, dropped his packages and ran. “We hit the man,’ Senak said, “with I think four shots…” The Wayne County Morgue “gave the cause of death as shotgun wound of the right buttock, penetrating liver and right lung with massive hemorrhage.”
Property damage vs. people damage:
Hersey tackled the issue of shooting looters and folk burning down buildings in the communities in which they lived. One young militant female at Wayne State University explained it to Hersey this way:
“The rebellion—it was all caused by the commercials. I mean you saw all those things you’d never been able to get—go out and get ‘em. Men’s clothing, furniture, appliances, color TV. All that crummy TV glamour just hanging out there.”
Hersey added: “She was not the only one I talked with in Detroit who regarded television as the opiate of the white masses and the agent provocateur of the black masses.”
As for property over people, Hersey observed “an ironic realization of the perception of the black population of Detroit, that law-enforcement officers were out in force during the rebellion in order to protect not human rights and human life but material property, store goods, buildings, capital investment. This perception intensified the rage and gave the spur to stealing and burning.”
Variety’s chief film critic, Owen Gleiberman, saw the looting and destruction this way: “The fact that we’re seeing African-Americans trash their own neighborhoods expresses something that’s profoundly implosive yet necessary: an incendiary had-it-up-to-here hopelessness tinged with a weary nothing-more-to-lose masochism.”
The “shots” that led law enforcers a hundred yards away to believe they were the targets of sniper fire and caused law enforcers to storm the Algiers likely came from a starter pistol. National Guardsmen Warrant Officer Theodore Thomas called in an alarm and, according to Hersey, “foolish horseplay with a blank pistol escalated into…’Army under heavy fire.’”
“What greater—or more bitter—irony could there be than that the three boys at the Algiers may have been executed as snipers because one of them, satirizing the uniformed men who had made them all laugh in the midst of their fear during the search that morning, had been playing with a pistol designed to start foot races, from which it was not even possible to shoot bullets?”
“Except of course, that as it turned out the boys were not executed as snipers at all. They were executed for being thought to be pimps, for being considered punks, for making out with white girls, for being in some vague way killers of a white cop named Jerry Olshove, for running riot—for being, after all and all, black young men and part of the black rage of the time.”
No gun was ever found by the law enforcers who stormed the Algiers. An investigative team at the Detroit Free Press concluded, “Both the number of snipers active in the riot area and the danger that snipers presented were vastly overstated.”
The beatings administered to those that survived were significant. “One side of Roderick Davis’ head remained numb for months. ‘They knocked all the hurt out of my head,’’ he said to (Hersey).” Davis’ mother eventually took him to a neurologist. “He doesn’t seem to reason properly,” she said. “For a time he would get these headaches and suddenly run a temperature, and his limbs would give way under him, and he would go partially blind.”
The violence visited upon the Algiers twelve may have been minimized or prevented but for what Hersey deemed a “walkout” of Michigan State policemen:
“Of all the chapters in this narrative, this may have been the most inglorious. Law-enforcement officers of the state of Michigan, having seen actions by policemen of the City of Detroit that were ‘out of control’, were evacuated by a commander ‘as he didn’t like what he had seen there’…the state troopers simply washed their hands of the whole nasty business and walked out.”
Tensions & Cop Trial to Flint:
It became clear to Hersey as soon as the following Monday, July 31, “that the killings in the Algiers were not executions of snipers, looters, or arsonists caught red-handed in felonious crimes in the heat of a riot, but rather that they were murders embellished by racist abuse, indiscriminate vengeance, sexual jealousy, voyeurism, wanton blood-letting, and sadistic physical and mental tortures characterized by the tormentors as ‘a game.’”
The Algiers beatings and murders would be replayed in Michigan courtrooms in the years to come. The bottom line is that no one was ever criminally convicted.
- May 1968: Ironically, black security guard Melvin Dismukes was the first to be charged. He was found not guilty of felonious assault after an all-white jury deliberated for 13 minutes.
- August 1968: Recorder’s Court Judge Robert DeMascio ruled that murder charges against Officer Robert Paille be dropped but that Officer Ronald August could be indicted for the murder of Aubrey Pollard.
- August 23, 1968: Dismukes, Paille, and Officer David Senak were arrested for “conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner.”
- September 16, 1968: Wayne County Prosecutor William Cahalan appealed the dismissal of charges against Paille. Recorder’s Court Judge Geraldine Ford was assigned the case.
- September-December 1968: Recorder’s Court Judge Frank Schemanske eventually dismissed the conspiracy charges against Dismukes, Paille, and Senak. Prosecutor Cahalan appealed the dismissal; the decision was appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court and eventually dismissed.
- February 1969: Recorder’s Court Judge Gerald Groat denied the motion for reinstatement of the conspiracy warrants against Dismukes, Paille, and Senak.
- March 28, 1969: Judge Ford ordered Judge DeMascio to reopen the case against Paille. Ford’s decision was appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court which handed it back to the Wayne County Court of Appeals which ordered Recorder’s Court to take additional testimony.
- May 3, 1969: US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Lawrence Gubow, announced that a federal grand jury had indicted August, Dismukes, Paille, and Senak on a charge of conspiring to deny civil rights to Pollard, Temple, and eight others.
- May-June 1969: An all-white jury in Mason, Michigan found August not guilty of first-degree murder after deliberating for 2 1/2 hours.
- August 1972: Detroit Recorder’s Court Judge George Ryan dismissed the murder charge against Paille.
The federal grand jury indictments handed down on May 3, 1969 were delayed by the assassination of Robert Kennedy and the publication of The Algiers Motel Incident. The case was assigned to U.S. Judge Stephen Roth who ordered the trial be moved to his hometown of Flint where it unfolded in January and February of 1970. After deliberating for nine hours, the all-white jury found all defendants not guilty of conspiracy.
Legal shenanigans and conflicting testimonies were rife throughout the legal proceedings emanating from the Algiers tragedy. Hersey provided crisp analysis for the failure of the criminal justice system to find anyone responsible for the carnage at Algiers:
“…the thesis of Leo Tolstoy in ‘War and Peace’ that history has to contend with the phenomenon that after a battle there are as many versions of the battle as there were participants in it. This is especially true…where the factors of guilt and personal danger enter into the history. Justice, as well as history, has to contend with this variance, and we shall see that the white man’s justice, in a Northern city just as much as in Mississippi, almost invariably prefers the unreliable testimony of whites to the unreliable testimony of blacks.”
“Unequal justice is experienced by the black populace at two points: what happens with the cop in the street, and what happens with the prosecutor and lawyer and judge in court.”
Robert Pollard, though less eloquently but more powerfully, gave witness to the inequities of Americas system of justice:
“‘They don’t have no type of justice in court,’ Robert said, ‘because there’s a whole lot of peoples up here that’s railroaded. They’re railroaded paying off the judges with money. If you can pay off so much money, they get your time cut, see. Every judge down there would do that. Money, it sings. If you got enough money you can do just about anything you want to do in the world. You can buy the judge, you can buy the lawyer, you can buy the prosecutor. This is happening every day. Railroading people.”
Robert Pollard was serving a sentence of three years in the Detroit House of Corrections for a $7 theft from a paperboy when he was interviewed by Hersey. He was unable to attend the funeral services for his brother Aubrey.
Flint on the edge:
Hersey warned, “The explosion in Detroit was one flame in a nationwide fire. A spark fell in Detroit, and an ignition took place. Newark seemed to set the sparks flying, but the elements of combustion were there for many, many years.”
Those “sparks” reached Flint and other Michigan cities where the elements of combustion were present for many, many years. Unrest was also reported in Mt. Clemens, Benton Harbor, Saginaw, Pontiac, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Muskegon.
The sparks from the Detroit rebellion began to spread to Flint the very next day on Monday, July 24. Vehicles were pelted with rocks and bottles, store windows were smashed, businesses were gas-bombed. The Flint Fire Department responded to several dozen calls; more than 60 off-duty firefighters were called in to help. More than 100 persons were arrested for their parts in the disturbances. Flint was on the edge of a conflagration.
According to MLive-The Flint Journal archives, “A state of emergency was declared in Genesee County—no liquor could be sold, only police officers could carry weapons, sales of gas were halted in the city, and pool halls were closed for a time…There were about 250 law enforcement officers on duty during the disturbances in Flint. The Michigan State Police operated checkpoints at the city limits and along North Dort Highway.”
Quick, clear-headed thinking by city officials may have saved Flint from Detroit’s fate. Flint mayor Floyd McCree, the nation’s first black mayor of a city with a population of at least 200,000, and Genesee County Prosecutor Robert Leonard huddled with other public officials. It was decided, over the objection of many, to release those that had been arrested in the first day of the disturbances provided they go back into the community and urge an end to violence. It worked.
Arrests dipped to 81 the night after the release and to 14 on Wednesday. For the most part, unrest disappeared by Thursday. “Those kids did what they promised to do, and they were the reason we didn’t have any kind of injuries or anything in the city,” Leonard told local media.
Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt is purported to have said, “Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.” Crisis reveals character and for a day or two during the July 1967 unrest in Flint, my own character was tested and found wanting.
For the first time in my life I armed myself. I put a loaded rifle in the trunk of my car when I drove into Flint for work and school. My hometown, for god sakes! I’d been in half of the homes in Flint as a water meter reader for the city’s Water Department. I contributed 56 points in a basketball game at Berston Field House to help my fraternity score a keg of beer. I worked at Fisher Body One on South Saginaw during three summers to help pay my tuition at Mott Community College and the University of Michigan-Flint. And now I’d become a gun toter in my hometown!
I was worried for my personal safety. Against whom? Against those who might assume I am one of “them”? Was I one of “them” or one of “us”? It can become so confusing during times of crisis. Lines blur. Identities and intentions are often lost in times of tribulation. I was worried that my whiteness would be a target for those who did not know me or share my complexion—the black brothers and sisters with whom I shared this small corner on the planet called Earth.
Writer Joyce Carol Oates, a Detroit resident at the time of the 1967 Detroit rebellion, shared my angst, my fear, in Them, a 1969 winner of the National Book Award:
“It was happenstance that my husband and I were living in a residential neighborhood bounded by Seven Mile Road to the south and Livernois Road to the west that was at the periphery of looting and burning; I was subjected, like hundreds of thousands of other Detroit citizens, to every emotion associated with such social tumult, which registers in the mind as a break in sanity itself. ‘What is happening? How can this be happening? Will we be killed? Who will protect us?’”
It was only two years before that I had traveled to Alabama to participate in the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery March. It remains to this day the most frightening experience of my life. In Alabama I was worried that my whiteness and my alliance with black brothers and sisters in the cause of voting rights would make me a target of those who shared my complexion—my white brothers and sisters. Viola Liuzzo and Rev. James Reeb, both white, were both murdered by other hate-filled whites during the Selma experience.
Afraid of white folk in Alabama in 1965. Afraid of black folk in Flint in 1967. Go figure. I had a lot to learn about how race relations in the country that was/is my home.
Had the eloquent words of John Hersey in Algiers been available to me during the tumult of the mid-60s, I may have better understood my predicament.
“I cannot afford this time, the luxury of invisibility. For the uses of invisibility, as Ralph Ellison has made so vividly and painfully clear—an inability or unwillingness to see the particularity of one’s fellow man, and with it a crucial indifference as to whether one is seen truly as oneself—these uses of not-seeing and of not-being-seen are the essence of racism.”
His impeachment of white America was made clear in the pages of “Algiers”: “Perhaps the whole point of this book is that every white person in the country is in some degree guilty of the crimes committed at the Algiers.”
Run, don’t walk, to see “Detroit”
Final Note: If you plan to see “Detroit” at the movie house, run, do not walk as it’s disappearing quickly from the big screens. The Algiers Motel Incident is still widely available. It sold over a half-million copies in its first run. Hersey took no money for the book; he donated profits to a fund to support college scholarships for African-American students. I recommend both the movie and the book, but if you can only do one, I recommend the book. My recent read moved it to my personal “top-five most important books” list. Feel free to contact me at the email address below if you want to borrow my tattered, marked-up, paperback copy.
EVM writer Harold C. Ford can be reached at email@example.com.