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Civil Rights, Mississippi, and the Novelist's Craft

Ronald L. Fair

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Published in 1965 in both American and English trade editions, Ronald L. Fair's first novel Many Thousands Gone depicts the imaginary community of Jacobs County, Mississippi where black oppression continued long after emancipation. When the Civil Rights Movement arrives, white refusal to bend with the winds of change erupts in a climactic conflagration.

William Mahoney

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William Mahoney, the author of Black Jacob (1969), had worked in the South during the height of the Civil Rights Movement for both the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and Martin Luther King's SCLC. His novel juxtaposes the two black characters of Jacob Blue, a doctor formerly respected by the white establishment who now seeks a congressional seat, and Jesse, an archetypical militant moving from one trouble spot to another and committed only to social revolution.