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In 'Shaking The Gates Of Hell,' John Archibald Confronts Father's Silence From Pulpit In Civil Rights Era

John Archibald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist, was born 11 days before Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his famous "Letter From a Birmingham Jail."

Photo by Paul Blutter
Photo by Paul Blutter

At the time, Archibald’s father was a Methodist minister in Alabama, loved by his congregations and loved by his son. But when Archibald discovered a trove of his dad’s old sermons, he realized that his father had been mostly silent on the civil rights movement that was changing the world right under his nose.

That revelation led Archibald to write his new book, "Shaking the Gates of Hell," which attempts to untangle what Archibald learned about his father with what he still loves about him. That’s something that resonated with me, and maybe it will with some of y’all, too.

By the way: I don’t want to give away too much, but this episode of SouthBound has a post-credits sequence —just like those Marvel movies! Stick around to the very end … especially if you’re a college football fan.

Show notes:

Other music in this episode:

  • Dee Yan-Key, "Go Down Moses"
  • Yusuke Tsutsumi, "Heaven"
Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.