- Unlikely Heroes: the dramatic story of the Southern judges of the Fifth Circuit who translated the Supreme Court’s Brown decision into a revolution for equality
- Porgy Comes Home: South Carolina After 300 Years
- The Orangeburg Massacre
- The Transformation of Southern Politics: Social Change and Political Consequence Since 1945
- The American South Comes of Age
- Ol’ Strom: The Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond
- Taming the Storm: The Life and Times of Judge Frank M. Johnson and the South’s Fight over Civil Rights
- Even Mississippi by Melany Neilson, Jack Bass
- The American South Comes of Age, editor
Jack Bass has written many books and articles about civil rights and politics in the South as journalist and analyst. He received his B.A. and his M.A. at the University of South Carolina and later studied constitutional law as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.
A retired professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi, he lived in Oxford, Mississippi. He taught journalism on the faculty of Ole Miss for eleven years. Drawing on his extensive journalism career covering politics, he has taught beginning through advanced reporting courses and a popular graduate course, “Covering Southern Politics.” (See Update below.)
Bass co-authored Ol’ Strom with Washington Post editor Marilyn W. Thompson, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by Longstreet Press, their publisher. His 1993 book Taming the Storm: The Life and Times of Frank M. Johnson Jr. and the South’s Fight Over Civil Rights won the 1994 Robert Kennedy Book Award.
Jack Bass has now authored or co-authored of seven nonfiction books about the South–its politics, race relations, and civil rights era. He taught for eleven years as a professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi before he became professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at the College of Charleston. As journalist and journalism professor, Bass was twice named the South Carolina “journalist of the year,” and is Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Social Sciences at the College of Charleston.
A Review of Taming the Storm: The Life and Times of Judge Frank M. Johnson and the South’s Fight Over Civil Rights
by Josh Bost (SHS)
Taming the Storm by Jack Bass is the story of Judge Frank M. Johnson’s life. Judge Johnson is one of the most important people in the South’s fight for civil rights. Everyone has heard of such influential people as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, but without Judge Johnson the movement would not have survived.
Judge Johnson was born in Winston County, Alabama, a predominantly Republican county in the hills of Alabama. During the Civil War, Winston County broke away from the state and became its own independent state so they would not have to fight for the Confederacy. In Winston County the races were already equal. Whites did not look down on blacks as an inferior race. Frank Johnson shared the views of Winston County.
As a judge, Frank Johnson was unbiased and tried to uphold the laws of the constitution in his rulings. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., said of him, “He is a man who gives true meaning to the word justice.” Not everyone thought of him that way though. Alabama Governor George Wallace labeled him an “integrating, scalawagging, carpet bagging, bald faced liar” who should be given a “barbed wire enema.” Judge Johnson received numerous threats by the KKK and a bomb did go off in his mother’s house.
Judge Johnson played an influential role in many court rulings, including declaring segregated public transportation unconstitutional, requiring that blacks be registered to vote, and integrating public facilities. He also ordered Governor George Wallace to allow the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery and brought about statewide school desegregation. He helped turn Alabama from one of the most segregated states in the South to one of the most integrated. Frank Johnson said in his courtroom, “My pride as an Alabamian is a matter of roots, but it is a pride that is enhanced by the enormous progress of the past twenty years– progressing in all areas of the securing of constitutional rights to all areas of the securing of constitutional rights to all citizens regardless of race, creed, or color.”
Taming the Storm is a very good book. This biography is a lesson in not just the history of civil rights, but a lesson in United States history as well. Anyone with enough time should read this book. With his creative writing styles and careful attention to detail, Jack Bass is the best author you have ever read.
- Bass brings historic civil rights cases out of the shadows at Emory University.
- Reviews of Bass’s biography: STROM: The Complicated Personal and Political Life of Strom Thurmond
- Reviews of Taming the Storm: The Life and Times of Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. and the South’s Fight over Civil Rights
- Jack Bass’s home page give biography.
- This page lists the works of Jack Bass.
- Bass visited Stetson Law School in 2011
- Bass, Jack. Taming the Storm, The Life and Times of Judge Frank M. Johnson and the South’s Fight Over Civil Rights. Bell Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., c. 1993.