Crossing the Lines by Richard Doster
The exciting sequel to Richard Doster’s Safe at Home offers a front row seat at the explosive events of the Civil Rights Movement
Family man Jack Hall wants nothing more than to be a respectable newspaper reporter, see a good baseball game now and again, love his wife, and watch his son grow up in their middle-class, white community. A sportswriter for the Atlanta Constitution, Jack is a contented Southerner—until, across the pages of the nation’s newspapers, the photos begin to appear of bombed out “Negro” churches, black schoolchildren swarmed by angry white mobs, and Thurmond, Talmadge, and Russell standing before gold-domed buildings, vowing that “our way of life” will never change.
With each image, Jack’s discomfort grows until, in September 1957, the pain becomes unbearable. That’s when one image, in one small newspaper—of a white girl screaming insults at her black classmate—ignites a new mission. Jack, so thoroughly grieved by the now famous photo of Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan, is determined to show the world the South he loves—with its beauty, its literature and music, and its achievements in sports and business.
He’s thrilled when he’s introduced to legendary editor Ralph McGill, an outspoken opponent of segregation who promptly sends Jack to Montgomery to investigate reports of a bus boycott. There Jack meets another man on the fault line of black and white: Martin Luther King, Jr. Profoundly moved by King’s commitment to Christian philosophy, Jack’s writing begins to reflect a need for racial equality and tolerance that isn’t always well received—even by his own wife.
As the years pass, Jack covers stories about Southerners from Orval Faubus to Jim Johnson, John Lewis, and Diane Nash and from music pioneer Sam Phillips to literary giants Flannery O’Connor and Harper Lee—always using his writing as a conscience for the South he loves so much. But once again, historic events sweep Jack—and his idealistic son, Chris—into harm’s way. Will this be the collision that destroys his family forever?
Richard Doster is the editor of byFaith magazine. Prior to his work with byFaith, Doster spent 25 years in the advertising business. He’s been published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and is a regular contributor to byFaith, winner of the 2006 and 2008 Evangelical Press Association’s Award of Excellence. A native of Mississippi and a graduate of the University of Florida, Doster is now concentrating on Southern fiction, exploring the history, religion, family relationships, sense of community and place, and social tensions that characterize his home region. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Sally.