The Montgomery Independent recently interviewed Eddie Phillips, author of the newly published The Other Side of Montgomery: Growing Up White in the Birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, and spoke with him about his memories of a Montgomery, Alabama not often found in history books.
In the interview, Phillips discussed a variety of subjects including growing up sheltered from the racial tension prevalent in Montgomery during the period. “Our parents probably did a great job of sheltering us from all of [the news coverage],” he said, noting that it was only later he began to appreciate the remarkable social changes underway at the time.
Phillips also remembered fondly his teenage years, a time when many of his classmates’ greatest cares involved “who was dating whom” and the crosstown rivalry between Lee and Lanier High Schools.
One memory Phillips discussed in his interview that particularly stuck with him was when he joined his mom when she drove their black housekeeper home one day. What he saw was a poor neighborhood he didn’t even know existed.
Ranging from his early childhood to his senior year as starting quarterback at Lee High School, The Other Side of Montgomery provides a look at life during the 1950s and 60s both removed from and affected by racial tension. Youthful exploits, tacky Christmas decorations, front porches, and backyard barbecues. . . . These are remembered fondly and described with wit.
Eddie Phillips is a lifelong resident of Montgomery, Alabama, recently retired from public service with almost thirty years of professional management experience in state and local government. This book is is his second publication; in 2005 he penned a collection of satirical poems entitled Left for Dead in the Corner Cubicle.
The Other Side of Montgomery is available directly from NewSouth Books, or from your favorite local or online retailer.