About the Book: Even forty years after the civil rights movement, the transition from son and grandson of Klansmen to field secretary of SNCC seems quite a journey. In the early 1960s, when Bob Zellner’s professors and classmates at a small church school in Alabama thought he was crazy for even wanting to do research on civil rights, it was nothing short of remarkable.
Now, in his long-awaited memoir, Zellner tells how one white Alabamian joined ranks with the black students who were sitting-in, marching, fighting, and sometimes dying to challenge the Southern “way of life” he had been raised on but rejected. Decades later, he is still protesting on behalf of social change and equal rights. Fortunately, he took the time, with co-author Constance Curry, to write down his memories and reflections. He was in all the campaigns and was close to all the major figures. He was beaten, arrested, and reviled by some but admired and revered by others.
"The Wrong Side of Murder Creek, winner of the 2009 Lillian Smith Book Award, is Bob Zellner’s larger-than-life story, and it was worth waiting for." - from Amazon.com
“The journey white Southerners travel in this riveting memoir, from virulent racism to acceptance of blacks' civil rights, is as momentous as any in American history. Zellner moved a shorter distance—son of a progressive, integrationist minister from Alabama, he had his family's support when he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1961. A frontline participant in many civil rights battles, he was jailed, beaten, slashed, shot at by police and taken on a terrifying night ride by Klansmen as they debated whether to lynch him. He's also a canny observer of major figures in the struggle, from SNCC legend Robert Moses to segregationist stalwart George Wallace. Zellner comes off as confident, even cocky—especially in his many arguments with racist antagonists, of which he has an implausible verbatim recall—but the constant menace of howling white mobs, vicious cops and Klan terrorists takes its toll. The result is a testament both to the courage of civil rights activists and to the hatred they overcame; when Zellner survives to see white and black workers come together for a wildcat strike, it seems almost miraculous.” – Publisher’s Weekly
"The captivating and profound testimony of a patriot who did everything he could to help make his nation a better place, The Wrong Side of Murder Creek is highly recommended." - Midwest Book Review
"[Zellner’s] words ring with an honesty often lacking in some other accounts of the times, and he recreates the culture of the 1960s with candor and humility. His book corrects many false impressions and gives the true story from someone who had a foot in both worlds, who risked his life--and his future--for what he believed in, and believes in still ... This book is an eye-opener for those old enough to remember these events, and a door to understanding for those too young to recall the shaping of the world we live in today." – The Decatur Daily