Civil Rights Today:
Current Issues

Civil Rights Today bridges the nearly half-century since 1963 when Rick, Ginny Sue, Concha, Lupe, and Flor fought the good fight for civil rights in Soda Springs, Colorado. Since then, Martin Luther King has become a national icon. A new generation of civil rights leaders has emerged. The civil rights movement has made great progress . . . yet, much still remains to be done.

This page raises current issues, documents and comments on civil rights today, and provides a forum on civil rights issues currently in the news.


The Help: a novel to read and think about

Critics be damned: The Help is a great showcase for women

The Help resonates because its stories are about ordinary women coping with life – and in the end, demonstrating that maids, too, can have a meaningful voice in Civil Rights. Read the full blog here.

How both The Help and Soda Springs honor Medgar Evers

The 1963 murder of NAACP leader Medgar Evers is a pivotal event in Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, as it is in Terry Marshall’s Soda Springs. This article shows why. Read the full blog here.

The Help: Let’s celebrate both movie and book

The Help relives’60s Civil Rights days with stories of Black maids in Mississippi. Author Kathryn Stockett is my soul mate; my novel, Soda Springs, set in the same years, charts a lesser known struggle of Mexican-Americans. Read the full blog here.

23 July 2011

Mass transit, race, and inequality

More than half a century after Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting an 11-month boycott that led to integration of that city's bus system, African Americans and Latinos are still struggling with an unequal transit system.

“Back of the Bus: mass transit, race, and inequality,” an hour-long NPR show by Transportation Nation is a sobering study of how mass transit systems not only isolate and destroy minority communities, but work against low-income people in general. The story looks at mass transit projects in St. Paul, Atlanta, Washington, Denver, and Oakland. Take a look at it.

May 9, 2011

The Music of Civil Rights

"American Experience" is at it again: here's a preview of their upcoming special, "Soundtrack for a Revolution," the music of the Civil Rights Campaign. It's on PBS, Monday, 9p.m.

Watch the full episode. See more American Experience.


May 4, 2011

Remember the Freedom Riders?

Rick Sanders does . . . they appear on page 1 of Soda Springs: Love, Sex, and Civil Rights -- "Rick swerved into the gravel. Charlie framed his shots to match the two-year-old Times photo from May 1961: Forsythe & Son sign at the left, a low-slung white store across the road to the right. Rick tramped the weed-choked berm where the civil rights bus had been etched into history. He found no skid marks, no shards of vitrified terror. Yet, an evil presence made them both jumpy. Still, the stop was worth the risk. Rick could beef up his series in the Cornell Daily Sun with irrefutable evidence of history ignored." Here's a clip from PBS on their upcoming May 16 special, Freedom Riders. Enjoy.

Watch the full episode. See more American Experience.


Freedom Riders premiering on PBS May 16, 2011. In 1961, segregation seemed to have an overwhelming grip on American society. Many states violently enforced the policy, while the federal government, under the Kennedy administration, remained indifferent, preoccupied with matters abroad. That is, until an integrated band of college students—many of whom were the first in their families to attend a university—decided, en masse, to risk everything and buy a ticket on a Greyhound bus bound for the Deep South. They called themselves the Freedom Riders, and they managed to bring the president and the entire American public face to face with the challenge of correcting civil-rights inequities that plagued the nation. Veteran filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s inspirational documentary is the first feature-length film about this courageous band of civil-rights activists. Gaining impressive access to influential figures on both sides of the issue, Nelson chronicles a chapter of American history that stands as an astonishing testament to the accomplishment of youth and what can result from the incredible combination of personal conviction and the courage to organize against all odds.


Jan 26, 2011

MLK: white moderates are a stumbling block to freedom

MLK came to believe in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" that white moderates are worse than Ku Klux Klansmen. Here's his quote.


Jan 25, 2011

Nigger in the novels Huck Finn and Soda Springs

Why use nigger in a novel? In Huck Finn and Soda Springs, it conveys the tone of the times. The lesson on civil rights today is not to ban books, but to use them to teach the pervasiveness of racism.


Jan 19, 2011

Nigger in Huck Finn hits the pundit circuit

The use of "nigger" in Huck Finn is back in the news because of a new edition that replaces the word nigger with slave. It's nuts, but it's relevant to Soda Springs.


Jan 17, 2011

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

Celebrate civil rights today. TM Blog: Uncensored entry honors Martin Luther King Day, 17 January 2011. You can read "I Have a Dream" and "Letter from Birmingham Jail."





Return from Civil Rights Today to Terry Marshall fiction home