We Shall Not Be Moved is an up-close study of a watershed Civil Rights demonstration. The book places the Jackson Woolworth's protest into a historical context. Part multifaceted biography, part well-researched history, this gripping narrative explores the hearts and minds of those participating in this harrowing sit-in experience.
Franҫoise N. Hamlin, herself a 2013 Lillian Smith Book Award winner, writing in a recent issue of American Historical Review, says of the book:
The book . . . easily draws the reader into the emotion, tragedy, and messiness of movement activity. O'Brien neatly dissects an iconic moment encapsulated by photographer Fred Blackwell's image of the Jackson Woolworth sit-in on May 28, 1963, showing a mob of white youth pouring condiments and insults on the seated protesters...
O'Brien has crafted a beautifully written text that transcends the local story with a simple, effective, and appealing structure that will lend itself to the many other movement campaigns with equally iconic images.
O'Brien's writing reflects his journalistic skills—he knows how to tell a story, and how to analyze images, interview his subjects, and craft tight prose that engages readers and elicits empathy for those on both sides.
The University of Georgia Libraries sponsors the awards, in partnership with the Southern Regional Council and the Georgia Center for the Book. O’Brien will be honored this weekend at the Decatur Book Festival. Also chosen as an award recipient was In Peace and Freedom; My Journey in Selma by Bernard LaFayette Jr. and Kathryn Lee Johnson.
We Shall Not Be Moved is now available in paperback.