by Phil Noble
NewSouth Books, Montgomery, Ala. 167 pages
This is a personal story that needs to be read by all who care about the details of history. This is particular history of the finest kind: the courageous work for racial equality and social justice in one Alabama town. From this particular experience, a wider vision is opened to the events that engulfed the country in the 60s and the people who fought so bravely to live the gospel in word and action.
Phil Nobel was the young pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Anniston, Alabama, who joined hands with his black clergy colleagues, Bob McLain and Nimrod Reynolds, to form the biracial Human Relations Council in Anniston. That may seem small, but at the time it was a courageous step that led to other steps in that one town between Birmingham and Atlanta.
Grand dreams of justice-for-all may be exciting, but the truth is that we all live in local places. It is in the local place where ones dreams become real. This personal story told so well by a local pastor is an important reminder of what can happen when we drop our grandiosity and take up our cross where we live. Given the recent events in this country and the presence of racism combined with the ignorance of history, this is an important book. Read it for the history. Read it for an example of what good can be done in a local community when you act on the gospel call.