Book Details

South of Little Rock is a story of love, hate, fear, and courage as the residents of a small town in southern Arkansas deal with social change in 1957.

Sam Tate is a white merchant, councilman, and widower who dotes on his two children and has not given much thought to how black people live. He only wants to play baseball with them. Becky Reeves is an unmarried northerner who ignores a warning from her mother and comes south to teach. Ida Belle Tate is a strong-willed woman who loves quilting and helping raise her grandchildren and dislikes blacks and Yankees.

Life changes for all of them when Governor Faubus resists the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School and President Eisenhower sends troops to ensure it. While national authority clashes with states’ rights in Little Rock, an ambitious newspaper editor and a bigoted minister fan racial hatred in Unionville.

Amid cross burnings, White Citizens’ Council meetings, and all manner of ruminating, speculating, and sermonizing among townsfolk, white and black, at home, work, and church, Sam questions old ways, Ida Belle clings to tradition, and Becky angers parents and school officials. The unrest brings Sam and Becky together then stands between them.

“Remarkably relevant to society today.” – Charles Phillips, coauthor of What Every American Should Know about American History

“Meticulously researched. Crisply rendered. Smartly constructed.” – Scott Eberle, blogger for Psychology Today

“Adams creates realistic characters and dialogue like a master playwright.” – Don Daglow, Emmy-winning author of The Fog Seller: A San Francisco Mystery

 

About the Author

George Rollie Adams

George Rollie Adams is president and CEO emeritus at Strong National Museum of Play, author of General William S. Harney: Prince of Dragoons, and coauthor of Nashville: A Pictorial History. He is a native of southern Arkansas and a former teacher with graduate degrees in history and education.