Friday, February 6th, 2009 by

Newsday newspaper has published an editorial by NewSouth author and civil rights activist Bob Zellner, where Zellner discusses the parallels between Barack Obama’s historic rise to the office of the President and the nonviolent struggle of those who paved the way for his success during the civil rights movement. NewSouth recently released Zellner’s memoir, The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement, in which Zellner tells how he grew from an Alabama Klan heritage to joined ranks with the black students who were sitting-in, marching, fighting, and sometimes dying to challenge the Southern “way of life” he’d been raised on but rejected.  In recognition of Black History Month and Barack Obama’s recent election to the presidency, Zellner’s story of nonviolence in the struggle for racial equality has become especially relevant.

From Zellner’s Newsday editorial:

Obama, against advice to the contrary, insisted on clinging to nonviolent politics through the campaign – for example, sticking to his statement that the United States “must talk to its enemies” and his plan to visit a Muslim country in his first 100 days in office.

The internal spirit of this new politics springs from the soul force of black people, developed during centuries of slavery and repression. Warriors of the civil rights movement learned they could not harbor hate against enemies and maintain their own physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Now, imagine all the power of the new nonviolent army, organized during the Obama campaign, turning its power on places like the devastated Gulf Coast or even Darfur?

Read Zellner’s full article at the Newsday website.

Zellner also recently spoke with the Washington Times in an article about Barack Obama’s election and its effect on nonviolent politics and modern race relations within the United States.  From the article:

“One lesson from the Civil War to the freedom fighters … to the Obama movement, is that nonviolent politics works. And we have an army now to make change in this country and in the world,” said Mr. Zellner, a retired history professor.

He rightfully added that black warriors were aided at every step of the journey by many whites, adding that Mr. Obama is “another transformative figure,” who “brings the message that white people can do something about racism.” Mr. Obama “will bring people together because we know we have much more important problems than the color of someone’s skin,” Mr. Zellner said.

Read the full article at the Washington Times website.

Zellner was also a featured guest on WKRF’s The Jim Engster Show, where he discussed civil rights activism and his role in the civil rights movement. Learn more about the program or listen online.

The Wrong Side of Murder Creek is available directly from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.