TITLE: Freedom Writer: Virginia Foster Durr, Letters from the Civil Rights Years
SPEAKER: Patricia Sullivan
EVENT DATE: 03/30/2006
RUNNING TIME: 42 minutes
Patricia Sullivan discussed her book "Freedom Writer: Virginia Foster Durr, Letters from The Civil Rights Years" in a program sponsored by the Library's John W. Kluge Center.
As a privileged white Southern woman, Durr (1903-1999) was an unlikely yet monumental champion of civil rights. "Freedom Writer" is a collection of her letters during three decades of struggle for racial equality. In 1951, returning to her native Alabama after a 21-year absence, she was deeply affronted by the same unchecked racism she recalled from her childhood. To help understand the South and battle her sense of isolation, Durr wrote hundreds of letters--humorous, sharp and observant--to her friends outside the region, among them Eleanor Roosevelt, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, journalist Jessica Mitford and historian C. Vann Woodward.
Speaker Biography: Patricia Sullivan, compiler and editor of the book originally published on the 100th anniversary of Virginia Foster Durr's birth and now available in paperback, is a John W. Kluge fellow at the Library of Congress and an associate professor of history and African-American studies at the University of South Carolina. She is the author of "Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in The New Deal Era" and is currently writing a history of the NAACP.