June 3, 2012
“Why should we study the past? A short answer is to learn how to behave in the future. This book takes us back to the recent past, 1960s and 1970s Mississippi, and shows how one person responded to the time and place he found himself in. The author absolutely catches the mood of fear and desperation in the white community in that place at that time. Those who were opposed to equal rights for African Americans were filled with fear that their roles of supremecy and domination would come to an end and those who supported, at least in theory, equal rights were afraid of what might be said or done to them for that support. It is difficult for us now to understand how much the elected government of the state of Mississippi deliberately created and sustained this climate of fear.
“So in this book we have the story of how an Episcopal priest took the teaching of Christ and the church seriously and faithfully and was willing to apply it not only in terms of words from a pulpit on Sunday morning but on the streets of conflict in direct personal confrontation with those doing evil things. I would like to think any priest would have done at least some of what he did when James Meredith showed up at Ole Miss but he was the man on the spot. Over and above that was a lifelong committment to Christian social justice based on profound reading of Scripture and reflection on the fundemental nature of Christian theology.
“The portrait of his family and social life rings entirely true to me. As he was my parish priest for several years in Meridian and then my Bishop, I did have a more than casual though not an intimate realtionship with he and his family. His essential decency, humanity and calm demeanor may be hard to believe when written down but are quite clear in personal encounter.
“This book is quite well written and compares favorably with the book that Will Campbell wrote some years ago that covers the some of the same ground but does not benefit from the full access to Duncan Gray’s personal files that Ms Johnston had. She is particularly good in relating what we would call Duncan’s Christian formation to his thoughts and deeds as a priest and Bishop.”
– Alexander T. Gafford. Full text at Amazon
March 22, 2011
“The Right Rev. Duncan M. Gray, Jr., confirmed my children. I have always admired him, and this biography is a great way to meet this great man. His story is the story of civil rights in Mississippi, and, although Mississippi has many shameful spots in our history, we can be proud of the example of Duncan Gray.”
– Janet Nail. Full text at Amazon
March 31, 2011
“This is a splendid book about a remarkable man, Duncan M. Gray, Jr. I felt right in this story for we were friends growing up, and I wanted this book to show Duncan as he was and is. I was with Dunc and Ruthie Spivey at Camp Bratton Green for four years, I visited Ruthie in Canton, and roomed with her sister my freshman year in college.
“Duncan’s father, Bishop Duncan M.Gray, Sr. and my father were friends.Bishop Gray, Sr. was the first person to greet us when we came out of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Meridian after our marriage. Duncan, Sr.turned to my new husband and asked, “Son, did she ever tell you how far she can hit a baseball?” The memories of camp lingered.
“Even as a teenager, there was an air about Duncan,Jr. which indicated he was destined for great things. I fully expected this biography to express that to the fullest, and it did not disappoint. Araminta Stone has done a marvelous job of telling this remarkable life story with her great research, detailed information, and excellent writing.
“She only left out one great story. When Duncan, Sr. was first elected bishop, the family and some friends were gathered for a meal. Duncan, Jr.was asking for the potatoes to be passed and he stumbled over his request several times. Duncan, Sr. look sternly at him and said,” Come now, Duncan, are you going to go through life a stuttering son of a bishop?”
“Duncan, Jr. certainly didn’t do that. Instead he spoke loudly and clearly words of wisdom, love, and compassion in times when they were greatly needed. He has left his mark as a brave and courageous man, a dedicated priest, a great husband and father and a credit to the church and the state of Mississippi. His likes will not be found again. Read this life story and be inspired.”
– Margie Read. Full text at Amazon
Feb. 14, 2011
“I enjoyed this book tremendously. Bishop Gray has always been my hero. The book shows his courage and his great conviction about the dignity and equality of all and his willingness to put himself at risk…. Not many in the South (even clergy) were willing to do this. The book tells of the man and his family and the Church that gave them all the courage to persevere….”
– The Rev. Lynne Hough, Deacon, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Long Beach, MS
Full text at Amazon