Born in the midst of the Civil Rights movement, the son of an Alabama preacher reflects on the silence of his otherwise morally upright father and the larger white Southern Christian church in the face of racist discrimination and police brutality against Black people rallying for rights.
His poignant reflections involve asking himself who he is, and who he would like to be. Archibald recognizes the inherent problems with judging another man in another time and also of his own moments of silence, but argues that studying the hypocrisy of the past is how change can occur today ... A powerful reflection on the influences of family and community and the ability to act justly in tumultuous times. Biography readers, especially those interested in reconciling the past, will be captivated by Archibald's honest, conversational style.
... a fascinating blend of family memoir and moral reckoning ... Archibald’s personal recollections vividly demonstrate the conflicts experienced by people rooted in traditional values during a period of rapid social change, when a liberal interpretation of those values offends their conservative community ... Archibald’s honest account of one family’s uneasy journey through the civil rights and gay rights revolutions makes it clear that there are no easy decisions—or answers—when grappling with issues of faith and social justice.
... the author brings readers back into horrifying moments broadcast world-wide of Black children and teenagers being sprayed with fire hoses. His reflections leave the author with a recognition of the weaknesses of men and a new understanding of his complex feelings toward his father ... An affecting blend of memoir and history, Shaking the Gates of Hell offers an unflinching account of a family in a tumultuous time.