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Book Reviews Robert R. Kracke The Gentle Giant of Dynamite Hill The Untold Story of Arthur Shores and His Family’s fight for Civil Rights by Helen Shores Lee & Barbara S. Shores with Denise George Zondervan 2012 - 287 pages This memoir written by Judge Hel- ing up on “Dynamite Hill,” will shake en Shores Lee and her sister, Barbara S. your faith in humanity at the meanness Shores is, for we who are old enough to of some and, at the same time, will renew remember, a compelling story of courage your faith in humanity by the courageous in the face of adversity.  This reviewer, and dignified response of Mr. Shores to having grown up in Birmingham, wit- the multiple bombings of his home.  He nessed the Birmingham of the 1950s, 60s always placed his faith in a higher power and thereafter from a personal perspec- and resisted leaving Birmingham so that tive.  As has been related in other book he could accomplish the civil rights strug- reviews, this reviewer was employed by gle in which he set out to engage from its the police department of the City of Bir- beginning. mingham from 1959 to 1965, while in In the background there always college and law school.  While employed seems to be an unsung hero, who was his there, this reviewer processed photos of aunt, who insisted while Mr. Shores was mug shots of not only those who marched growing up that he do his duty, honor his in the 1960s, but those unfortunate vic- faith and study hard to better himself. tims of police brutality, whose heads were Some of the accounts related in this wrapped in so much gauze from rubber book cannot be repeated here because of hose beatings that they resembled middle their inflammatory nature.  One must ob- eastern turbaned potentates. funeral of the four young girls slain in the tain the book and read it for oneself to Further, through this job with the po- th Street Baptist Church. realize the humiliation these two authorsdynamiting of 16 lice department, this reviewer witnessed suffered as they were growing up in a the antipathy, hate, and unreasonable- Mr. Drennen has related to this re- hate-filled community.  It is not recom- ness of human relations from an insider’s viewer some of his experiences while sit- mended reading for the faint of heart.  point of view.  And, while all this was ting on the City Council.   The meeting However, inasmuch as this review is be- taking place, this reviewer’s brother, Dr. to add Arthur Shores to the City Council ing published in the communications or- Roy R. Kracke, Jr., was assisting attorney was held at Mr. Drennen’s residence be- gan of the Birmingham Bar Association, David Vann in trying to change the form fore the actual public meeting took place it should be told here that the Birming- of government from a commission form (this was before sunshine laws) and he ham Bar Association in 1961 was part of to a mayor-council form and thereby rid made the nomination, seconded by Miss the leadership that sought to make the the City of an administration that had be- Nina Miglionico, to replace a deceased changes necessary to bring about better come an embarrassment and an economic councilman with the first African-Ameri- human relations between the races in the liability to the citizens of Birmingham. can councilman in the history of the City city.  The Chamber of Commerce en- of Birmingham.  Later, Mr. Drennen re- When the mayor-council elections listed the Bar’s help in 1961 and the Bar lated that he worked well with Mr. Shores were held, this reviewer’s brother-in-law, responded, along with the Young Men’s as delegates to the Democratic National Alan T. Drennen, Jr. was elected to the Business Club.  Many of the lawyers who Convention in 1968. mayor-council as a councilman and was contributed to that effort were dedicated the only councilman who attended the This very personal account of grow- members of this association who contrib- 16 Birmingham Bar Association


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