The Wall Between, 2nd edition

  • Author(s): Braden, Anne
  • Series:
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 1999-09-15
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Paper: Price $35.00 | Buy Now

The Wall Between is a chilling depiction of a pattern repeated over and over again across the South as brave Blacks and Whites tried to breach the barrier between the races. . . . We need to know Anne Braden’s story, perhaps even more in 1999 than when she wrote it in 1957.” —from the foreword by Julian Bond

In 1954, Anne and Carl Braden bought a house in an all-white neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky, on behalf of a black couple, Andrew and Charlotte Wade. The Wall Between is Anne Braden’s account of what resulted from this act of friendship: mob violence against the Wades, the bombing of the house, and imprisonment for her husband on charges of sedition.

A nonfiction finalist for the 1958 National Book Award, The Wall Between is one of only a few first-person accounts from civil rights movement activists—even rarer for its author being white. Offering an insider’s view of movement history, it is as readable for its drama as for its sociological importance. It contains no heroes or villains, according to Braden—only people urged on by forces of history that they often did not understand.

In an epilogue written for this edition, the author traces the lives of the Bradens and Wades subsequent to events in the original book and reports on her and her husband’s continuing activities in the Civil Rights movement, including reminiscences of their friendship with Martin Luther King. Looking back on that history, she warns readers that the entire nation still must do what white Southerners did in the 1950s to ensure equal rights: turn its values, assumptions, and policies upside down.

In his foreword to this edition, Julian Bond reflects on the significance of the events Anne describes and the importance of the work the Bradens and others like them undertook. What’s missing today, he observes, is not Wades who want a home but Bradens who will help them fight for one. Anne and Carl Braden showed that integrated groups fight best for an integrated world, and The Wall Between is a lasting testament to that dedication.

The Author: Ann Braden was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and worked as a newspaper reporter and a public relations agent for trade unions. She served as a delegate to the 1984 and 1988 Democratic National Conventions and has been a visiting professor at Northern Kentucky University, where she teaches civil rights history. She continues to work with the Kentucky Alliance against Racial and Political Repression.