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The Hillsboro Story

   A Kaleidoscope History

       of an Integration Battle

          in My Hometown

Susan Grace Banyas

 

 

ISBN 978-1-947980-90-7                         378 pages          $18.00

ISBN 978-1-949966-23-7 (color )                                       $35.00

 

 

 

 

b&w edition

color edition

The Hillsboro Story is set in the writer’s hometown, near the Mason Dixon Line, during a powerful turning point in America, when the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 set the stage for school integration. A single childhood memory—a protest outside her classroom window—opens into a multi-voiced tale that brings to light the courageous people who fought for integration and equal protection in the early days of the Civil Rights Movement, at a time when Cold War tensions were at their peak. Anchored by the wisdom of real people who lived through the experience, The Hillsboro Story reveals what hides in the shadows of the culture, then and now, and the deep nature of memory as a tool for empowerment and healing.

Two months after the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its momentous Brown v. Board of Education decision, an eight-year-old girl named Susan Grace Banyas, living in the small town of Hillsboro, Ohio, bore witness to a courageous community protest staged to support and hasten the integration of her town’s public schools, after the “colored school” was mysteriously set on fire.

  Five decades later, Banyas, now a notable storyteller and artist, returned to her hometown to re-engage the childhood memory and gather the memories of the people who participated in or witnessed what was a timely and courageous civil rights action. This stirring book deserves to be widely read as our American citizenry continues to reckon with our country’s long legacy of racial injustice.

  Congressman John R. Lewis, one of our longtime and finest civil rights leaders and public servants, always recommends to those attending his speeches and protests, that they “Be stirred by the spirit of history.” Susan Grace Banyas has taken his advice dearly to heart.

     Jock Reynolds, Yale University Art Gallery

 

Like a great epic filmmaker, Susan Banyas moves fluidly between the personal and the historical, the particular and the archetypal, the internal and external. Memory has profound resonance in our time of relative truth, greed and indifference to history. This powerful book is more relevant than ever.

      Meredith Monk, Composer/ Director/ Performer

 

Susan Banyas left Hillsboro, but Hillsboro never left her - and with this beautifully written book she has recovered a fascinating but forgotten chapter in the history of the civil rights movement.

      Jon Wiener, Professor Emeritus of History, University of CA, Irvine, Author, and Contributing Editor at The Nation

Our stories have the power to heal and transform us, but first we must find them and then dance, perform, and dream them with each other and our communities. In the spirit of the best of Studs Terkel, “The Hillsboro Story” is an inspiring model for finding and revealing the lost voices of ordinary and extraordinary people who made our American history.

      Pat Ferrero, Filmmaker, Professor InterArts & Cinema, San Francisco State University

 

Weaving her way back and forth, from the early days of the Republic until the present, Banyas has created a history that comes alive with real people whose lives were central to the racial change and backlash, the passions and struggles that engulf this country today.

      Lewis Steel, Civil Right Attorney, author of The Butler’s Child, a memoir

Susan Grace Banyas is a multi-media artist and choreographer. She was raised in Southern Ohio and lives on the West Coast. This is her first book.