in Oren Renick’s new book
‘Smoke Over Mississippi’ examines life, actions, words of Dr. William Penn Davis.
SAN MARCOS, Texas – Over 50 years ago, Freedom Summer marked the civil rights campaign to register as many black voters in Mississippi as possible. Dr. William Penn Davis was one of the voices calling for change. He became a hero and friend to author Oren Renick. Renick now shares the inspirational story of his mentor in his new book, “Smoke Over Mississippi: A Journey of Hope and Reconciliation” (published by Insight Press).
Davis is best known for developing the Committee of Concern, a group formed to combat the prevalent burning of churches taking place in Mississippi at the height of the civil rights era. Davis endured threats and violence while still pursuing his mission of making black and white Mississippians equal.
“Smoke Over Mississippi” documents Davis’ teachings. The book highlights interviews Renick conducted with Davis 50 years ago and each chapter begins with a dialogue between Renick and Davis taken from the interviews. Renick believes his book will finally give credit to a virtually unsung hero of the civil rights movement.
“People thirst for a hero and one who can be emulated,” Renick says. “Dr. William Penn Davis is a man whose mission to be his ‘brother’s brother’ should appeal to anyone who believes in mercy and justice.”
Renick believes that there is just as much to be learned from Davis’ words and works as there ever was.
About the Author
Oren Renick is professor of health administration in the School of Health Administration at Texas State University, San Marcos. Both he and his wife, Judy, grew up in Mississippi. Renick is the current board vice chair of the National Volunteer Caregiving Network.