A Fighting Life
Carl Maxey was, in his own words, "a guy who started from scratch - black scratch." He was sent, at age five, to the scandal-ridden Spokane Children's Home and then kicked out at age eleven with the only other "colored" orphan. Yet Maxey managed to make a national name for himself, first as an NCAA championship boxer at Gonzaga University, and then as eastern Washington's first prominent black lawyer and a renowned civil rights attorney who always fought for the underdog.
- Published: November 2012
- Subject Listing: Biography, Western History, African American Studies
- Bibliographic information: 288 pp., 25 illus., 6 x 9 in.
- Series: V. Ethel Willis White Books
During the tumultuous civil rights and Vietnam War eras, Carl Maxey fought to break down color barriers in his hometown of Spokane and throughout the nation. As a defense lawyer, he made national headlines working on lurid murder cases and war-protest trials, including the notorious Seattle Seven trial. He even took his commitment to justice and antiwar causes to the political arena, running for the U.S. Senate against powerhouse senator Henry M. Jackson.
In Carl Maxey: A Fighting Life, Jim Kershner explores the sources of Maxey's passions as well as the price he ultimately paid for his struggles. The result is a moving portrait of a man called a "Type-A Gandhi" by the New York Times, whose own personal misfortune spurred his lifelong, tireless crusade against injustice.
Jim Kershner is a journalist for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane.
"An essential biography of one city's civil rights hero, wonderfully written and impeccably researched. . . . Carl Maxey was a man whose complicated life transcended its own gripping details to mirror a turbulent time in our recent history, a time when it seemed as if race and justice would forever run on separate tracks."
-Jess Walter, author of The Zero
"Jim Kershner's biography of activist Carl Maxey is not only inspirational and informative, but because it is so well written it is also a pleasure to read."
-Carlos Schwantes, University of Missouri-St. Louis
Preface and Acknowledgments
1. An Orphan's Fire
2. A Father in Black Robes
3. The Count and the Club
4. Walking Right into Trouble
5. King Carl Wins the Crown
6. Eastern Washington's First Black Lawyer
7. Stirrings from the South
8. The Haircut Uproar and a Perfunctory Execution
9. Freedom Summer in the Tail End of America
10. "The Sickness of Our Nation"
11. A Right Hook to Scoop Jackson
12. The Seattle Seven Circus
13. The Maxey Temper
14. Ruth Coe's Greek Tragedy
15. "No Goddamned Award"
16. "Living through All This B.S."
17. Type-A Gandhi
Notes on Sources