A few months ago I had the opportunity to attend the Writers Day  program at the Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center located in Henning, TN. While there I purchased a book called Finding the Good by Lucas L. Johnson II. It is based on the life of Fred Montgomery, a friend of Alex Haley’s, former Henning mayor, and former curator of the Alex Haley Museum. I was so fascinated by the life of Fred Montgomery that I read the book in one sitting. Not only is it a biography of sorts, but there are details of the author’s life included as well as history related to people and places in Henning, TN.

The book itself is titled after Alex Haley’s famous saying “Find the good and praise it”. There are many interesting parts of the book including the stories of racist treatment from the men who employed Fred’s family as sharecroppers, Fred’s struggles with the deaths of his children, childhood stories about Fred and Alex, actions of the local KKK, details of early African American education in Henning, TN, pictures of Fred and his wife Earnestine, and other stories that allow the reader to understand Henning, TN during the Jim Crow era.


Finding the Good by Lucas L. Johnson II
Finding the Good by Lucas L. Johnson II


Mr. Fred Montgomery died July 12, 2006, but his memory will live on through this book and the countless lives he touched. I recommend this book to anyone looking to learn about African American life in Henning, TN.

Finding the Good on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/1401600743


– Tiffany

– Image Source: my own