For obvious reasons, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Birmingham, is inseparable from discussions about today's divisive politics. That's what happens when you're a Democrat surprisingly elected to the Senate from Republican-dominated Alabama.
But let's try to separate them, if only for a moment.
Remember that before he entered politics, Jones was an acclaimed U.S. attorney in Birmingham heralded for his effort to bring justice to the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case of the 1960s. Politics aside, his street cred in civil rights circles is unbreakable.
All that's to say that Jones' new book, "Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing That Changed the Course of Civil Rights," is being heralded this spring for the insights and analysis he provides about that seminal moment in American history.
Alabamian Howell Raines, the former editor of The New York Times, wrote that paper's review of Jones' book. And, yes, politics are involved. We can't fully separate Jones from his victory over Republican Roy Moore.
Here's how Raines starts his review:
"As he fell behind an accused sexual predator in returns from Alabama’s 2017 Senate election, Doug Jones admits, he allowed himself an almost 'unbearable' lament familiar to thousands of frustrated Alabamians who came of age in the George Wallace era: 'Oh, my poor home state.' Near midnight, it appeared that Jones’s pistol-waving opponent, the former Alabama Supreme Court justice Roy Moore, would join the century-long parade of reactionary buffoons Alabama’s white majority has sent to Congress and the governor’s mansion.
"But in the final count for that Dec. 12 election, a cresting wave of modern sentiment among black voters and white women in the state’s rich Republican suburbs handed Jones a 22,000-vote victory, making Alabama the last state of the old Confederacy to join the New South. It was the biggest upset in Alabama political history, especially given Jones’s background as a successful prosecutor of Ku Klux Klansmen who perpetrated the signature civil rights crime of the 1960s, the fatal bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham."
-- Phillip Tutor