The Peggy Morgan Story
River City Publishing
On Sale: August 1, 2003
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This powerful "as told to" memoir chronicles the lives of
Peggy Morgan and her mother, Inez, as they struggle to
raise their families in Jim Crow, and after, rural
Mississippi. The women, both white, with little money,
education or social support, live and almost die under the
terrorizing reigns of alcoholic, abusive husbands. What's
more, amid the emerging civil rights movement, Peggy's
father and husband both become white supremacists who
force Peggy and Inez to keep deadly secrets. Peggy's
father commits Inez to a mental institution when she
threatens to reveal facts about the racially motivated
1955 murder of black teenager Emmett Till. Then, in the
late '60s, Peggy overhears her husband's business
associate confess to the 1963 murder of civil rights
leader Medgar Evers. Each woman is burdened by the
knowledge. Inez takes it to the grave, but Peggy comes
forward 31 years later to testify against and help convict
Byron De La Beckwith. Clearly, this account's pull is the
evolution of social conscience. But the strength of the
writing is in the personal details rather than the
political ones. Novelist Carolyn Haines nimbly illustrates
the minutiae of rural Mississippi life: what it's like to
pick rows of cotton while hauling an infant, or what the
lunch crowd talks about at Charmaine's Caf , in Greenwood,
Miss., where 16-year-old Peggy works as a waitress. .
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