"The book moved me at times to tears. Dovey Roundtree's nobility, the courage and effectiveness of her work, are enough to restore anyone's hope for the human race. The book, though it describes an era that is past, is above all a study of something that doesn't change much: human character and its possibilities." -- Time Magazine essayist Lance Morrow

"The book was an enthralling read from beginning to end. McCabe and Dovey are as unlikely a pair as you will ever see, but their collaboration results in a book that is much more than just a story of Dovey's life and a story of the civil rights movement." --
Deborah Froling, Women Lawyers Journal, Summer 2010

"American history and human history at its very best" --
Dr. Walter J. Leonard, former Harvard Law School assistant dean; chairman of the Harvard W.E.B. Du Bois Institute's founding committee

"A gripping read...From the first few pages to the last, the reader is drawn in by the courage and perseverance of a remarkable woman...McCabe's narrative skills pull one in as seductively as a novel." -- Novelist Patricia O'Brien, author of Harriet and Isabella

"To read how Dovey Roundtree struggled to help others and make a difference in our world is exalting...Katie McCabe has done a formidable job of entering Dovey's mind, memory and soul to produce this first-person account of a woman of our history whose virtues we should enshrine on a pedestal of honor." --
Brig. Gen. Wilma L. Vaught, USAF (Ret.), President, Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation

"The book manages to immerse readers in Roundtree's life, creating a real sense of what it was like to live as a black person in segregated Charlotte and the Jim Crow South." -- Pam Kelley, The Charlotte Observer

"An amazing story...that humanizes the raw emotions of thousands of early twentieth-century the dreams of the entire African American community." -- Citation of the judges, 2009 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize, Association of Black Women Historians

"Reverend Roundtree's voice is unforgettable and the written word by...Katie McCabe is remarkable...The themes are brilliantly interwoven. This book is a must read."
-- Dorothy Drinkard-Hawkshawe, AME Church Review, October-December 2009

The Book

Dovey Roundtree, 1955, on the steps of the Supreme Court, with her first law partner, the late Julius Winfield Robertson (standing behind Roundtree)

"There's a gloriousness in the law, in its ability to bring us to the threshold of justice. And that counts for something -- that chance, that hope, that open door. But if we are to cross that threshold, we must find it in ourselves, in our own hearts and minds, to live out the rulings and decrees and mandates of the courts."


"Age has taken my strength, and it has robbed me of my eyesight, but I have yet a voice, and I raise it this day, at this hour, for our little children, that we may do right by them, that we who are their parents and their grandparents, their teachers and their pastors may nurture them and hold them to our bosoms, that we may baste them in love, that we may weave about them the cocoon of family...I have battled in my time for so many kinds of justice...But no battle of my half century at the bar has been so urgent as the one for the next generation. If every matter before every court in America were foreclosed this moment as a litigable issue, there would yet remain the cause of our little children. They are the case at bar. Theirs is the case I plead now."


"The kind of justice I seek today is older by far than the law, and it resides in people's hearts. It is nursed into being not primarily in the pulpit or the classroom or the courtroom, but in the home, at the fireside and the dining room table, in the thousands of intimate moments when mother and father and children weave their bond. It is in this sanctuary that the passing on takes place, that the 'miracle in the hearts of men' of which Dr. King spoke unfolds itself."


"I knew that no mere chronicle of accomplishments, however stunning, could convey the world view of a woman who, having spent her life in the pursuit of simple justice under law, who had indeed loved the law in all its powerfully articulated the need to go beyond it.

"I knew that Dovey's story must be told in her own voice...In her voice was her soul, the expression of her spirituality, her passion for goodness, her fire, her softness, her wisdom, and her pain...

"I set out to capture her voice and draw out the themes of her life, and in so doing I learned how to tell a new kind of story, about challenges to the spirit as well as to the mind, about the places a human being discovers when there is nowhere left to the midst of all that, Dovey and I created this book together, she telling me stories in the magnificent oral tradition of her grandmother, I trying to capture that as a writer."