Paperback / softback
November 27, 2012
25 illus.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
.85 Pounds (US)
$20.00 USD
v2.1 Reference
August 14, 2015
25 illus.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.26 Pounds (US)
$95.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

Carl Maxey

A Fighting Life

Carl Maxey was, in his own words, “a guy who started from scratch - black scratch.” He was sent, at age five, to the scandal-ridden Spokane Children's Home and then kicked out at age eleven with the only other “colored” orphan. Yet Maxey managed to make a national name for himself, first as an NCAA championship boxer at Gonzaga University, and then as eastern Washington's first prominent black lawyer and a renowned civil rights attorney who always fought for the underdog.

During the tumultuous civil rights and Vietnam War eras, Carl Maxey fought to break down color barriers in his hometown of Spokane and throughout the nation. As a defense lawyer, he made national headlines working on lurid murder cases and war-protest trials, including the notorious Seattle Seven trial. He even took his commitment to justice and antiwar causes to the political arena, running for the U.S. Senate against powerhouse senator Henry M. Jackson.

In Carl Maxey: A Fighting Life, Jim Kershner explores the sources of Maxey's passions as well as the price he ultimately paid for his struggles. The result is a moving portrait of a man called a “Type-A Gandhi” by the New York Times, whose own personal misfortune spurred his lifelong, tireless crusade against injustice.

About the Author

Jim Kershner is a journalist for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane.


"As with any well-constructed biography, we finish the book feeling that we have just met someone personally. Carl Maxey: A Fighting Life is a fitting tribute to a controversial ground breaker in our state's history. Today it is actually much more than that. It stands as evidence testifying to the hard road traveled by many African Americans and thus a tribute to the recent accomplishment of our 44th president."—Columbia

"Kershner uses the story of Maxey's life to show the barriers that African Americans faced in Spokane, even though the city was not in the South and could pride itself in having no segregation laws. . .The state has changed since then. This book is the story of one man who helped change it."—Seattle Times

"Reads like a modern Dickens tale."—Law & Politic, Summer 2009


"An essential biography of one city's civil rights hero, wonderfully written and impeccably researched. . . . Carl Maxey was a man whose complicated life transcended its own gripping details to mirror a turbulent time in our recent history, a time when it seemed as if race and justice would forever run on separate tracks."—Jess Walter, author of The Zero

"Jim Kershner's biography of activist Carl Maxey is not only inspirational and informative, but because it is so well written it is also a pleasure to read."—Carlos Schwantes, University of Missouri—St. Louis

University of Washington Press

9780295992310 : carl-maxey-kershner
Paperback / softback
288 Pages
$20.00 USD
9780295997346 : carl-maxey-kershner
288 Pages
$95.00 USD

Other Titles by Jim Kershner


Jim Kershner, Staff of HistoryLink
Oct 2019 - History Ink
$29.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Cultural Heritage

The Horses Pulled Me Back To Them

Aubrey Dawne Edwards
Aug 2020 - University of New Orleans Press
$30.00 USD - Hardback

The Tao of Raven

Ernestine Hayes
Jan 2019 - University of Washington Press
$26.95 USD - Hardback
$18.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Roy Wilkins

Yvonne Ryan
Mar 2018 - University Press of Kentucky
$60.00 USD - Hardback
$24.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in History of the Americas

The Fabric of Empire

Danielle C. Skeehan
Dec 2020 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$54.95 USD - Electronic book text

Cold War Correspondents

Dina Fainberg
Nov 2020 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$64.95 USD - Hardback
$64.95 USD - Electronic book text

Neighborhood of Fear

Kyle Riismandel
Nov 2020 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$49.95 USD - Hardback
$49.95 USD - Electronic book text