Author B.J. Hollars will be traveling to Alabama to later this month to celebrate the publication of his new book The Road South: Personal Stories of the Freedom Riders. Hollars will be reading from and discussing his new book at several events across the state including the Freedom Rides Museum in Montgomery. Signed copies will be available for sale at all venues and events.
While much has been written on the Freedom Rides, far less has been published about the individual riders. Join award-wining author B.J. Hollars as he sets out on his own journey to meet them, retracing the historic route and learning the stories of as many surviving riders as he could. The Road South offers an intimate look into the lives and legacies of the riders. Throughout the book these civil rights veterans poignant, personal stories offer timely insights into America’s racial past and hopeful future.
Weaving the past and present, Hollars aims to demystify the legendary journey, while also confronting more modern concerns related to race in America. The Road South is part memoir and part research-based journalism. It transcends the textbook version of this historical journey to highlight the fascinating stories of the many riders–both black and white–who risked their lives to move the country forward.
A graduate of the University of Alabama’s MFA program, Hollars is excited to return to Alabama. “I’m thrilled to return to my former home to share a story that means so much to our nation: how a group of people boarded buses and forever changed America.” He goes on, saying, “The Freedom Riders’ stories are more than an inspiring story of the past, it’s a path forward, too. There are so many lessons we can learn from their sacrifice and commitment to the cause of civil rights.”
Hollars is an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is also the author of several books including Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence and the Last Lynching in America; Opening the Doors: The Desegregation of the University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa; Flock Together: A Love Affair With Extinct Birds; From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us about Life, Death, and Being Human, among others. Visit bjollars.com for more information.
Hollars will be appearing and talking about his book at the following times and locations:
- Thursday, May 17
12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Tuscaloosa Public Library
1801 Jack Warner Parkway
Tuscaloosa, AL 3540
- Thursday, May 17
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Hunter’s Chapel AME Zion Church
1105 22nd Avenue
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
- Friday, May 19
Freedom Rides Museum
210 S. Court Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
Praise for The Road South
“At various points personal quest, memoir, travelogue, and oral history, B. J. Hollars’ The Road South is a fine and important contribution to our understanding of the Freedom Riders, what motivated them, how their participation in the movement shaped them, and how they shaped America.”
—Derek Charles Catsam, author of Freedom’s Main Line: The Journey of Reconciliation and the Freedom Rides
“By undertaking his own journey of reconciliation, author B. J. Hollars brings fresh relevance to the history of the 1961 Freedom Rides. His compelling and creative melding of past with present reminds us that extraordinary actions by fiercely determined young people have—and still can—change the world. This inspiring tribute to citizens who transformed America during the turbulent times of the 1960s, brings a road into view that beckons us anew to travel the distance for freedom.”
—Ann Bausum, author of Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement
“From the opening interview with Jim Zwerg all the way to the end, I felt as if I were getting to know these historical figures better than I had in the past, and I have interviewed several of them myself.”
—Frye Gaillard, author of Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement that Changed America and Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail: An Illustrated Guide to the Cradle of Freedom