Piece of Cake PR

Debut Non-Fiction Reveals Harrowing Reality of Civil Rights Movement

From author Mary Sue Brown-Durr, ‘A Cry in the Night: The City of Lights’ Dark Side’ is a searing account of one family’s journey through the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Durr navigates through the landmines of grief and loss as she writes about school integration, the Voters Rights Movement and ultimately, the murders of her father and sister. Emotionally raw, this book truly captures the violence and brutality of one of the darkest times in American history.


Canton, MS -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/28/2014 -- Against a backdrop of hatred, racism and the relentless battle for equality, Mary S. Durr’s sister, Barbara Jean, was murdered for her beliefs.

In her intensely personal and riveting new book, ‘A Cry in the Night: The City of Lights’ Dark Side’, Durr sends readers straight back through time, into the menace and madness of the Deep South, as the Civil Rights Movement raged and Durr’s family became embroiled in the fight.

“Writing this book was very difficult for obvious reasons,” says Durr. “However, it was vital to me that I put the stories of my family on paper and let the world know what they suffered so that the next generation could enjoy what they never could – the right to vote, the right to go to school and above all, the right to have a voice within society.”

Told from a historical perspective and meticulously researched, Durr’s book not only details her family’s struggles, but also those of the leaders and organizations of the time. It is a singularly impressive work, and a moving tribute to her everlasting love for her father and sister.


The book, A Cry in the Night, based on the murder of a seventeen year old civil rights participant, provides a general background on the life of Negros in Canton, Mississippi during the Jim Crow era. The city of Canton, now the city of lights was once a city embedded in darkness as Negros struggled for justice and equality. It focuses primarily on the role of the civil rights movement dealing with boycott, integration, voter registration, and death. Recommend for general reading.

Since its publication, ‘A Cry in the Night: The City of Lights’ Dark Side’ has earned glowing reviews from readers.

Grady Harp wrote: “The impact of this book is her revisiting the early movements of the civil rights crusade with special attention to the events in Canton, Mississippi that included the brutal murder of her older sister, civil rights activist Barbara Jean, at the age of 17 years. Her gradual unfolding of the events leading up to and including this critical time and event in history is harrowing and informative, and she closes her book by revealing the truths about the incident that ended the life of Barbara Jean. It is a powerful indictment about how things were fifty years ago and in many ways continue to be current issues. This is a book that should be absorbed by every citizen in this country, as it is as truthful and journalistic reporting as we have available.”

Rachel Jones called the book “moving and insightful” and wrote: “This book will leave you with a greater appreciation for the sacrifices of the activists of that time, both Black and White, young and old who fought for one of our basic Constitutional Rights, "that all men are created equal."

Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite wrote, “The book is a compelling read. The fact that it is the personal experience of a family and concerns the civil rights movement gives it a very human touch. The story is honest and the murder angle adds intrigue and suspense. The book also opens readers' eyes to life fifty years back. The book is also a reflection of the author's knowledge about civil rights and civil rights crusades, from academics to teaching. In addition, I liked the book because it is honest and stark. It makes the narration more effective. The very fact that it is a personal experience makes the reader feel the emotions more strongly. Although the book has a historical angle, the story is something that any reader can relate to because it could have happened in any place. The book is emotionally moving as it speaks about the sacrifices made by the activists during that time.”

‘A Cry in the Night: The City of Lights' Dark Side’, is available from Amazon: http://amzn.to/KHojij

About the Author: Mary S. Durr
Mary S. Durr was born and raised in Mississippi, and attended Mississippi College, Jackson State University and Walden University, where she earned degrees in Business Administration and Instructional Design and Technology with a specialist in Training Development and Performance Improvement, and an Ed.D., in Educational Technology. She has gained additional experience in the Civil Rights crusade, business development, curriculum design and development, corporate training, research, program evaluation, instructional design and development, technical writing, competency-based instruction, supervisory/management in customer care instructions, leadership and diversity training, and creative problem solving skills in an Andragogy learning environment.