Nobody Said Amen
By Tracy Sugarman
(Published as a Morris Jesup Book in association with the Westport Library, Westport, Connecticut)
Written by an intimate participant in the turbulent civil rights movement in Mississippi, Nobody Said Amen tells the stories of two families’ lives, one white, one black, as they navigate the challenging, tilting landscape created by the coming of “outside agitators” and social change to the Mississippi Delta in the 1960s.
Owner of a great plantation, Luke Claybourne is a product of Southern attitudes, a decent man who feels responsible for the black families who make his plantation run, but who is loathe to accept the changes necessary for its survival. When he loses his plantation, his entire world is shattered. Led by his wife, Willy, and their friendship with a Northern journalist, Luke is forced to come to terms with a new way of life in the post–Civil Rights era South.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Mack, a young black Mississippian leading a group of students who have come to Shiloh to help blacks gain the right to vote, has become a target of the Klan—savagely beaten while in jail and threatened with a burning cross. His love affair with Eula, a Claybourne employee, highlights the tensions and hazards of trying to love in the shadow of a racist world.
Rich with a colorful roster of the people in Shiloh, Nobody Said Amen tells a triumphant American tale.