LEWIS "WENT DOWN… TROOPERS BROKE RANKS AND BEGAN RUNNING AFTER BLACKS, CLUBS SWINGING WILDLY": SCARCE ASSOCIATION FIRST EDITION OF CHARLES FAGER'S SELMA, 1965, INSCRIBED BY CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS
(LEWIS, John) FAGER, Charles E. Selma, 1965. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, (1974). Octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket. $2500.
First edition of Quaker activist Charles Fager's on-the-ground history of Selma—"the march that chanced the South”—an exceptional association copy inscribed by Congressman John Lewis on the half title, "Best Wishes, John Lewis."
Selma, 1965 is "a fascinating portrait of the most significant campaign of the civil rights movement." To Jonathan Yardley, this "does more than any book I have read to bring that epoch back to life… Fager's carefully-researched, precisely written book tells it with great clarity and power" (Washington Post). Fager, a Quaker activist and author, also served as field secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was a bodyguard for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This distinctive association copy, inscribed by Congressman John Lewis, documents the day he and other marchers were attacked on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. As Lewis was knocked down, "troopers broke ranks… clubs swinging wildly." When some marchers struggled to kneel down and pray, "troopers struck again, spraying [tear] gas… and clubbing everyone they could reach." Those who made it off the bridge were pursued by men on horseback and assaulted "with bullwhips, ropes and lengths of rubber tubing wrapped in barbed wire" as crowds of whites cheered. John Lewis, his skull fractured, was helped to a church with other marchers, but "refused to go to the hospital until he had told the audience… 'Next time we march, we may have to keep going when we get to Montgomery. We may have to go on to Washington.'" With 16 pages of illustrations.
A fine copy.