Pam Johnson’s new book tells of triumph over racism

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‘Justice for Ella’ details two women’s struggle for racial victory in Mississippi during 50s, 60s

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I want readers to celebrate two strong women and their ability to address injustice and win under seemingly insurmountable circumstances,” Johnson says.

On February 22, 1959, in Shuqualak, Mississippi, Ella Gaston and her husband Nelse were driving home with their children in tow when they were pulled over by the police for “driving while black,” Jewell McMahan recalls. Following a brutal arrest, Ella consulted her white friend and employer Jewell McMahan for advice and help. What followed wasn’t a mere court battle: it was history.

Author Pam Johnson was privileged to interview Jewell McMahan, who told her of her firsthand experience with Ella Gaston, and pointed her in the direction of other resources to round out the tale. Johnson now invites readers to share in a narrative non-fiction account of Ella Gaston and Jewell McMahan’s grueling battle and eventual triumph, in her new bookJustice for Ella: A Story That Needed to Be Told” (published by iUniverse).

Praise for “Justice for Ella”:

“Johnson, a journalist, tells the story quite eloquently. She is particularly adept at pacing, which makes for an exciting read. Most impressively, Johnson weaves history into the narrative.”
—Kirkus Indie

“Justice for Ella” follows Ella Gaston and Jewell McMahan into the courtroom and beyond. As the case winds through what Johnson refers to as “the tilted Mississippi justice system,” Ella Gaston and Jewell McMahan eventually take measures into their own hands. Readers watch as the pair use a series of cat-and-mouse games in an attempt to keep Ella Gaston out of court, jail and harm’s way.

Set against the backdrop of the highly charged racist indignities of the era, the story provides readers a glimpse of the day-to-day difficulties endured by black Mississippians.

“I want readers to celebrate two strong women and their ability to address injustice and win under seemingly insurmountable circumstances,” Johnson says. “Secondarily, I hope readers will realize that the meanness of segregation permeated every aspect of society in Mississippi for a long time, and that many people worked in unsung ways to challenge the system. You don’t have to be a rock star to stand up against wrong, and these two women proved it.”

“Justice for Ella”
By Pam Johnson
Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.5 in | 256 pages | ISBN 9781491730447
Softcover | 5.5 x 8.5 in | 256 pages | ISBN 9781491730430
E-Book | 256 pages | ISBN 9781491730454
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Pam Johnson has spent time as an assistant secretary of state for policy and publications during the Eric Clark administration in Mississippi, news editor of the Magee Courier and The News-Commercial, Executive Director of the Mississippi Association for Justice and the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women. She is an advocate for women and women’s issues, and continues to champion the cause through various organizations. While she has written for newspapers, magazines and government publications, “Justice for Ella” is her first published book.

iUniverse, an Author Solutions, LLC, self-publishing imprint, is the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing provider. iUniverse has a strategic alliance with Indigo Books & Music, Inc. in Canada, and titles accepted into the iUniverse Rising Star program are featured in a special collection on iUniverse recognizes excellence in book publishing through the Star, Reader’s Choice, Rising Star and Editor’s Choice designations—self-publishing’s only such awards program. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, iUniverse also operates offices in Indianapolis. For more information or to publish a book, please visit or call 1-800-AUTHORS. For the latest, follow @iuniversebooks on Twitter.

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