“Speak Truth to Power: The Story of Charles Patrick, a Civil Rights Pioneer” depicts a man, whom after many years of abuse by the southern white man’s abuse, decided to stand up for what he believed to be his God given right.
The story’s appeal has nothing to do with the fact that he was mistreated, or that he decided to take a stand. It has to do with the fact that this specific story was lost in history and not learned of until Patrick-Dorsey decided to let the world know the story of her father’s bravery.
“It was encouraging, how the community both blacks and whites came together to defend my father,” said Patrick-Dorsey in a recent interview.
From the time Patrick left Birmingham, until this book was published summer 2010, no one knew the story of Patrick’s influential stand for civil rights.
“I can’t forget anything, they darn near killed me…” said Patrick.
Patrick was the first black man to ever stand up for himself against a white person and actually follow through with it in Birmingham, without being brutally murdered as a result. When a judge asked Patrick how he receive his injuries he took it upon himself to tell the truth, informing the city that two of their officers had terribly beaten him, while incarcerated.
“I’d rather die telling the truth, than live a lie,” said Patrick.
This caused a great rift in Birmingham’s usual serene, community, or a community in which blacks didn’t challenge the whites. Though this story was syndicated nationwide, it somehow was lost in history. After Patrick moved his family away to California, clearly this story was never mentioned in Birmingham again.
After close to 30 years of being away, Patrick and his wife had successfully raised their kids to adults and finally relocated back to Birmingham. Surprised at how drastically things had changed, but knowing that he had a lot to do with the citizens coming together to form one community, Patrick was glad to be home.
Aside from Patrick, there are many influential blacks in our history who played a major part in how far we have come as a race. Until someone takes the time, as Patrick-Dorsey has to find the story and get it out, we may never know who they are.