The Desegregated Heart

The Desegregated Heart

A Virginian's Stand in Time of Transition

Book - 2001
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When first published in 1962, Sarah Patton Boyle's narrative of personal growth and change was highly praised and quickly sold more than sixty thousand copies, though few of them in the South. In it we witness Boyle's journey from sedate Virginia housewife to civil rights activist via an often naive, but ultimately courageous path.

Catalyst for Boyle's conversion was African American attorney Gregory Swanson's successful suit for admission to the University of Virginia Law School in 1950. Boyle wrote Swanson a friendly note of welcome--and prided herself on addressing him as "Mr." Her awkward efforts to help led her to T. J. Sellers, editor of Charlottesville's black newspaper, The Tribune, and to what they came to call "The T. J. Sellers Course for Backward Southern Whites." It was the beginning of a remarkable friendship which is traced in their correspondence, selections from which are published here for the firt time.

Although she could not have imagined it when she wrote that note to Gregory Swanson, by 1962 Sarah Patton Boyle had become the most outspoken white integrationist in Virginia. In addition to writing, speaking, and organizing for the NAACP and other groups, she gained national attention when an article she had originally titled "We're Readier Than We Think" appeared in the Saturday Evening Post under the inflammatory title "Southerners Will Like Integration." A wave of hostile reactions from across the country included crosses burned on her lawn.

This reprinting of The Desegregated Heart, long out of print, adds significantly to the new work that attempts to unravel massive resistance. For all who seek to understand the civil rights movement in this country, it recaptures the contribution of not one but two people who proved themselves part of the very backbone of a new racially progressive South that is still in the making.

Publisher: Charlottesville : University Press of Virginia, 2001
Edition: First University Press of Virginia edition
Copyright Date: ©1962
ISBN: 9780813920290
Branch Call Number: 323.1196 Bo
Description: xxxii, 388 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Ritterhouse, Jennifer Lynn


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