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Saturday, October 5, 2013

0 Book Review: A Drum Major For God And A Perfume Sprinkler To Man: The Life and Theology of Unsung Civil Rights Hero Rev. Dr. Jonathan McPherson, Sr. by Jonathan McPherson & Nathan Turner Jr.

Title: A Drum Major For God And A Perfume Sprinkler To Man: The Life and Theology of Unsung Civil Rights Hero Rev. Dr. Jonathan McPherson, Sr.
Author: Jonathan McPherson & Nathan Turner Jr.
Genre: Civil Rights

Buy: Amazon

Book Summary: 
A Drum Major for God and a Perfume Sprinkler to Man: The Life and Theology of Unsung Civil Rights Hero Rev. Dr. Jonathan McPherson, Sr. This book is about the unsung heroism and theology of The Rev. Dr. Jonathan McPherson Sr., of Birmingham, Alabama, a minister who was jailed with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he wrote his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail. In newspaper photos and grainy newsreel footage of the pivotal civil rights demonstration in that city on Good Friday April 12th, 1963, the scholarly but humble college chemistry professor is shown walking only a few steps behind the Rev. King. Notorious Birmingham City Commissioner Bull Connor's police arrested the Rev. McPherson, the Rev. King and scores of others that day for the alleged violation of the city's parade law. In fact, the Rev. McPherson helped lay the groundwork for the Birmingham protests and the Rev. King's participation in the Birmingham demonstrations. Now, the Rev. McPherson chronicles his own life, from his involvement in his beloved church to civic and civil rights accomplishments. His book also features sermons and speeches which highlight the civil rights movement and a theology which promotes the black family. Few know that the Rev. McPherson was a mastermind of the Birmingham Selective Buying campaign. Essentially, a retail boycott protesting Birmingham's segregated business district, it paved the way for Dr. King's invitation to Birmingham and the world shaking spring protests of 1963. Also, many do not know that he was the first black person to pass the Jefferson County civil service exam, which allowed him to qualify as a Birmingham police officer. This action was a catalyst to a confrontation with police commissioner Connor and brought him to the attention of suspected Ku Klux Klansmen. The Rev. McPherson also registered hundreds of blacks to vote in Birmingham in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Additionally, he was a temporary guard for Dr. King when he stayed in a Birmingham residence during the demonstrations.

About Author: 
Reverend Dr. Jonathan McPherson, Sr.
Reverend Dr. Jonathan McPherson, Sr. is a noted educator, Civil Rights leader, entrepreneur, and longtime Pastor of Saint John Baptist Church, Edgewater, Alabama. The Fairfield, Alabama native retired as a professor at Miles College and holds a key leadership position with the Sunday School Publishing Board of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. and is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Birmingham chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He is co-founder and President of Scott-McPherson Funeral Home, Inc. in his native Fairfield. He earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from Miles College in Fairfield, AL; a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.; and a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree from Miles Law School. He also was a National Science Foundation Scholar at the following institutions: Tufts University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Montana State University, Tuskegee Institute, Indiana University, and New York University. The Rev. Dr. McPherson, aside from being a scholar and Christian Educator, was the first black person to pass the civil service exams in Birmingham, Alabama, to the consternation of city police commissioner
Eugene (Bull) Conner. A key organizer of the Birmingham Selective Buying Campaign (boycott) in the early 1960s, the Rev. McPherson also marched and was arrested with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 12, 1963. The Rev. King would write his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” during his incarceration. The Rev. McPherson also helped guard the Rev. King when the civil rights icon stayed with the John J. Drew family on Dynamite Hill in Birmingham during demonstrations. 228 He and his dedicated wife, Agnes, are the parents of Karla (Rev. Reginald) McPherson Calvert and the Rev. Jonathan (Rev.Jacquinetta) McPherson, Jr. and grandparents to three grandchildren, Joel Evander McPherson, Gabriella Raquel McPherson, and Christina Grace McPherson.

About the Co-Author
Nathan Hale Turner, Jr.
Nathan Hale Turner, Jr. is a former copy editor for The Birmingham News, where he won the Editor’s Award for Headline Writing. He is also the co-author of The Road South: The Shelley Stewart Memoirs, (Warner Books, 2002) and, Keep Looking Up: The History of Sixth Avenue Baptist Church with the Rev. Dr. John Porter (GrantHouse Publishers, 2004), A Man and His Mountain: First Baptist Church, Montgomery with the Rev. Dr. Willie Welch III (GrantHouse Publishers, 2006), and The Sweetest Harmony: Evelyn Hardy and the Gospel Harmonettes(GrantHouse Publishers, 2009). Mr. Turner is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa where the School of Communications lists him as the first African American awarded an undergraduate degree in journalism. The writer is a former journalism instructor at Talladega College and English teacher at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham. He is a former editorial consultant for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Chris McNair’s Down Home Magazine.

Book Review:
This is very well written and easy to read. The book serves as an autobiography of Rev. Dr. Jonathan McPherson, Sr.. It starts from the day he was born until his present day. It tells the story of his involvement in the civil rights movement, his work in the church, and his devotion to his family and community. It shares his story on how he became a highly educated, powerful leader. A lot of history is covered in the book, but it is still enjoyable.

I highly recommend this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Star
Review by: Kechell Jackson | K is for Kechell 


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