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Author to discuss civil rights-era upbringing April 15

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist John Archibald will discuss his new book “Shaking the Gates of Hell: A Search for Family and Truth in the Wake of the Civil Rights Revolution” in a live, online event at 5 p.m., Thursday, April 15, presented by the Lewes Public Library, Browseabout Books and CAMP Rehoboth.

Coming of a long line of Methodist preachers, Archibald grew up in the American South in the 1960s in the midst of the civil rights revolution. He had seen his father, the Rev. Robert L. Archibald Jr., as a moral authority, a moderating force during the racial turbulence of the ’60s, a loving and dependable parent, and a man many Alabamians came to see as a saint. But was that enough? Archibald’s complex journey into his past reveals the conspiracy of silence his father faced in the South, in the Methodist Church, and in the greater Christian church.

Archibald will be joined in conversation by his brother, Murray Archibald. Together they will explore the question posed in the book: Can a good person remain silent in the face of discrimination and horror, and still be a good person?

John Archibald is a current Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He is a columnist for the Alabama Media Group. His columns appear in the Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times, the Mobile Press-Register, and its social brand, Reckon. He won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2018.

Murray Archibald is an artist and co-founder of CAMP Rehoboth. He has served the organization in many ways since its creation in 1991, including as executive director, creative director and board of directors president. He is currently a member of the board of directors of the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society.

The Zoom-based discussion is free to the public. To sign up, go to and visit the Virtual Programs for Adults page.

Participants also are encouraged to support the author by purchasing a copy of the book from local independent bookstore Browseabout Books. Each copy purchased comes with an archival bookplate signed by the author. Orders may be placed online at, by calling the store at 302-226-2665, or in person at 133 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach.