Wayne Greenhaw

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Greenhaw visiting Snead State on February 23, 2011

Harold Wayne Greenhaw (February 17, 1940 – May 31, 2011) was an American writer and journalist. The author of 22 books who chronicled changes in the American South from the civil rights movement to the rise of a competitive Republican Party,[1] he is known for his works on the Ku Klux Klan[2] and the exposition of the My Lai Massacre of 1968.[3] Greenhaw wrote for various Alabamian newspapers and magazines, worked as the state's tourism director, and was considered "a strong voice for his native state".[4]

Biography[edit]

Born in Sheffield, Alabama, Greenhaw and his family moved to Tuscaloosa when he was ten. He attended Tuscaloosa High School, and at age fourteen contracted polio and spent the better part of a year in a body cast. During this time he read Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner and decided to become a writer. He enrolled at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and studied under the creative writing professor Hudson Strode.[1] He wrote for The Montgomery Journal (which was later incorporated into the Montgomery Advertiser) and helped break the story of the indictment of William Calley for murder on September 12, 1969;[5] Greenhaw was one of only a few people who spent time with Calley in that time,[6] having him over at his house in Montgomery, Alabama.[7] The story earned him a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University[8] in 1973.[9]

He wrote for and edited the Alabama Magazine in the 1980s, and wrote for The New York Times and Time.[10] From 1993 to 1994, he served as Alabama's state tourism director under Democratic Governor James Folsom, Jr.,[1] and was awarded the Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer in 2006.[10] His papers are held in Auburn Montgomery's library.

Greenhaw died on May 31, 2011, in Birmingham from complications during heart surgery.[11]

Work[edit]

His book Fighting the Devil in Dixie: How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama was hailed as "an important addition to the civil rights record"; the book is "a scholarly account based on interviews, court records, and newspaper articles" that has "readability and poignancy".[12]

Greenhaw navigates through the explosive events that spurred a sea change in race relations, encompassing both the villains-e.g., Robert "Dynamite Bob" Chambliss, who supplied the explosives responsible for many of the bombings, including the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 1963-and the numerous heroes, such as the sole early black lawyers in Selma, J.L. Chestnut, Jr., and Orzell Billingsley; attorney Charles Morgan in Birmingham; the intrepid Freedom Fighters, demonstrators and student writers for the Southern Courier; and Morris "Bubba" Dees Jr., who moved from representing racists to ardent civil-rights lawyer and co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The author skillfully weaves a rich historical tapestry from his deeply engaged, firsthand observations.[13]

He co-wrote with Donnie Williams The Thunder of Angels: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the People Who Broke the Back of Jim Crow. Williams and Greenhaw "expose the reader to lesser-known figures" of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, "bring[ing] to life the boycott that catapulted the nation into the civil rights era, portraying the personal sacrifices and heroism of ordinary people".[14] Among his friends were a number of notables who were active in the civil rights movement, including Judge Frank M. Johnson,[15] and notable Alabama professors and writers such as Harper Lee,[1] Don Noble,[1] Rick Bragg,[1] and Truman Capote.[16]

In his book on George Wallace, George Wallace and the Defeat of the American Left, "Greenhaw portrays Wallace as a surprisingly intelligent man whose worst flaw is not racism (or even cynicism) but egocentricity".[17]

Select bibliography[edit]

  • The Making of a Hero: A Behind-the-Scenes View of the Lt William Calley Affair (Louisville: Touchstone, 1971)
  • Elephants in the cottonfields: Ronald Reagan and the new Republican South (New York City: Macmillan, 1982)[18]
  • Fighting the Devil in Dixie: How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2011)[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Cobb, Mark Hughes (June 1, 2011). "Noted writer Wayne Greenhaw dies at age 71". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  2. ^ Gerlach, Michele (June 7, 2011). "Did Carter, like Wallace, change?". Andalusia Star-News. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  3. ^ Benn, Alvin (May 31, 2011). "Alabama author Wayne Greenhaw dies". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Greenhaw: A strong voice for his native state (editorial)". Press-Register. June 3, 2011. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 
  5. ^ Oliver, Kendick (2006). The My Lai massacre in American history and memory. Manchester UP. pp. 43–44. ISBN 978-0-7190-6891-1. 
  6. ^ Faludi, Susan (2000). Stiffed: the betrayal of the American man. HarperCollins. p. 347. ISBN 978-0-380-72045-3. 
  7. ^ Beidler, Philip D. (2007). American wars, American peace: notes from a son of the empire. U of Georgia P. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8203-2969-7. 
  8. ^ "Obituaries for 06/03/2011". Montgomery Advertiser. June 2, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Nieman Fellowships". Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Busch, Matthew (May 31, 2011). "Award-winning Alabama author Wayne Greenhaw dies". The Birmingham News. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  11. ^ Cobb, Mark Hughes (June 1, 2011). "Noted writer Wayne Greenhaw dies at age 71". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  12. ^ Ennis, Lisa A. 2011. Fighting the Devil in Dixie: How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama. Library Journal 136.3: 120. MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed June 14, 2011).
  13. ^ 2010. "Fighting the Devil in Dixie: How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama." Kirkus Reviews 78, no. 20: 1043. Literary Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed 14 June 2011).
  14. ^ Ford, Vernon. 2005. "The Thunder of Angels: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the People Who Broke the Back of Jim Crow." Booklist 102, no. 2: 14. Literary Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed June 14, 2011).
  15. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (July 24, 1999). "Frank M. Johnson Jr., Judge Whose Rulings Helped Desegregate the South, Dies at 80". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  16. ^ Stashick, Morgan (February 2009). "Wayne Greenhaw lectures on journalism industry". The Auburn Plainsman. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  17. ^ Berry, Jason. 1976. "George Wallace and the Defeat of the American Left." Nation 222, no. 14: 442. MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed June 14, 2011).
  18. ^ Apple, Jr., R.W. (April 5, 1989). "Washington Talk: The Capital; The G.O.P. Chairman's Southern Strategy: A Mission That Looks Impossible". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  19. ^ Algarin, Matt (January 12, 2011). "Civil rights book has Destin connection". The Destin Log. 

External links[edit]