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Birmingham Bar Associations Bulletin Summer 2015

Book Reviews The Newspaper Boy Coming of Age in Birmingham, Alabama During the Civil Rights Era by Chervis Isom, The Working Writer, 2013, 359 pages This well-written, inspiring story of the life of Chervis Isom is worthy of your attention. It is truly a testimonial to the quiet good works done by now-deceased Birmingham lawyer Abe Berkowitz, who actually financed the law school career of author Chervis Isom. Mr. Berkowitz also was a truly magnificent moving force in getting the Birmingham Bar Association behind the 1960’s change in the form of government. If the reader is interested, one can also review the history of the Birmingham Bar Association written by Birmingham Bar member Patricia B. Rumore, as it, too, tells the courageous story of the members of the Birmingham Bar Association who overcame not only the Ku Klux Klan, but also the then “tragedy” of Birmingham and Bull Connor (“tragedy” in the Shakespearean sense: “A form of drama based on human suffering that invokes in its audience an accompanying catharsis.”) This memoir can be purchased for $27.95 and is highly recommended. G Editor Robert R. Kracke Several years ago this reviewer did a book review of this book before it was published. Obviously, that was premature and the book can now be purchased at any local book store. It has received the prestige of a starred review in Kirkus Book Reviews. One of the national authors who recommends this book to the reader on the dust cover, Sena Jeter Naslund, is the author of several books and this reviewer is presently reading her novel, Abundance, a biographical novel of Marie Antoinette. Ms. Naslund is an excellent and prolific writer and the fact that she has recommended Chervis Isom’s book is a distinction in and of itself. Ms. Naslund is also a native of Birmingham and a graduate of Birmingham Southern College. Chervis has told the story here of his growing up in Norwood with a paper route and his lifetime of unflagging attention to books and literature which began as a youth. This reviewer uses the word “youth” intentionally inasmuch as Chervis quotes the poem Youth by Samuel Ullman, great-grandfather of Birmingham Bar member B.G. Minisman, which contains the famous line, “...youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; ....” This poem was revered by the Japanese when they visited the office of General Douglas MacArthur, who displayed it on his office wall when he ruled over Japan in the post World War II era. You can visit the Samuel Ullman house on the Southside in Birmingham. This reviewer read the printer’s proofs of this now-finished autobiography. One of the Birmingham Bar’s premier lawyers, Tom Ritchie, mentioned to this reviewer recently that he had enjoyed reading this very personal account of Birmingham’s struggle during the Civil Rights Era. This reviewer lived it: as an employee of the Birmingham Police Department at the time and as the brother of Dr. Roy Kracke, Jr., who was David Vann’s right-hand man in changing the form of Birmingham’s government, and as the brother-in-law of Alan T. Drennen, Jr., who served on the first Mayor- City Council form of government, along with Mayor Albert Boutwell and our own Ms. Nina Miglionico after the overthrow of the commission form of government by the people of Birmingham. Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Summer 2015 19


Birmingham Bar Associations Bulletin Summer 2015
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