Daisy Bates (1914-1999) is renowned as the mentor of the Little
Rock Nine, the first African Americans to attend Central High
School in Little Rock, Arkansas. For guiding the Nine through one
of the most tumultuous civil rights crises of the 1950s, she was
selected as Woman of the Year in Education by the Associated Press
in 1957 and was the only woman invited to speak at the Lincoln
Memorial ceremony in the March on Washington in 1963. But her
importance as a historical figure has been overlooked by scholars
of the civil rights movement. "Daisy Bates: Civil Rights Crusader
from Arkansas" chronicles her life and political advocacy before,
during, and well after the Central High School crisis. An orphan
from the Arkansas mill town of Huttig, she eventually rose to the
zenith of civil rights action. In 1952, she was elected president
of the NAACP in Arkansas and traveled the country speaking on
political issues. During the 1960s, she worked as a field organizer
for presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to get out the
black vote. Even after a series of strokes, she continued to
orchestrate self-help and economic initiatives in Arkansas. Using
interviews, archival records, contemporary news-paper accounts, and
other materials, author Grif Stockley reconstructs Bates's life and
career, revealing her to be a complex, contrary leader of the civil
rights movement. Ultimately, Daisy Bates paints a vivid portrait of
an ardent, overlooked advocate of social justice. Grif Stockley is
a staff attorney of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas.
He is the author of several books, including "Blood in Their Eyes:
The Elaine Race Massacres of 1919," "Blind Judgment," "Probable
Cause," and "Expert Testimony." He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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