When civil rights leader Hosea Lorenzo Williams died in 2000, U.S. Congressman John Lewis said of him, "Hosea Williams must be looked upon as one of the founding fathers of the new America. Through his actions, he helped liberate all of us."
In this first comprehensive biography of Williams, Rolundus Rice demonstrates the truth in Lewis's words and argues that Williams's activism in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was of central importance to the success of the larger civil rights movement. Rice traces Williams's journey from a local activist in Georgia to a national leader and one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s chief lieutenants. He helped plan the Selma-to-Montgomery march and walked shoulder-to-shoulder with Lewis across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on "Bloody Sunday." While his hard-charging tactics were counter to the diplomatic approach of other SCLC leaders, Rice argues that it was this contrast in styles that made the organization successful.
Andrew Young Jr., former SCLC executive director, U.S. Congressman, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and mayor of Atlanta, provides a foreword.
Rolundus Rice holds a PhD in history from Auburn University. He currently serves as vice president of academic affairs at Rust College in Mississippi.