My Father Said Yes

A White Pastor in Little Rock School Integration

By Dunbar H. Ogden; Desmond Tutu (Foreword by)
(Vanderbilt University Press (TN), Hardcover, 9780826515926, 170pp.)

Publication Date: April 2008

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On September 4, 1957, the group of African American high school students who became known as the Little Rock Nine walked up to the front of Central High to enroll in school. They were turned away by the National Guard, who had been called out by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus. "Blood will run in the streets," said Faubus, "if Negro pupils should attempt to enter Central High School." A mob seethed out front. The man who led the Nine up to the lines of the National Guard on that fateful morning was the author's father, a white Presbyterian pastor.

"My Father Said Yes" is the untold story of the Reverend Dunbar Ogden, who became the pro-integration leader in Little Rock's white community. He responded to a call for support from Daisy Bates, co-owner of the town's black newspaper. Both faced fierce opposition from within as well as from outside. Reverend Ogden lost his church and Daisy Bates lost her newspaper.

This memoir is also a moving father-son story. In this frank account, the author discusses the depression his father battled for most of his life, as well as the family tragedy of his brother's suicide.

About the Author

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, renowned South African activist and cleric, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986, the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2005, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, among other honors.
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