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The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation [Kindle Edition]

Gene Roberts , Hank Klibanoff
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
Kindle Price: $13.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

An unprecedented examination of how news stories, editorials and photographs in the American press—and the journalists responsible for them—profoundly changed the nation’s thinking about civil rights in the South during the 1950s and ‘60s.

Roberts and Klibanoff draw on private correspondence, notes from secret meetings, unpublished articles, and interviews to show how a dedicated cadre of newsmen—black and white—revealed to a nation its most shameful shortcomings that compelled its citizens to act. Meticulously researched and vividly rendered, The Race Beat is an extraordinary account of one of the most calamitous periods in our nation’s history, as told by those who covered it.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This Pulitzer-winning chronicle of the role the news media played in shaping the civil rights movement makes its belated audio debut. Richard Allen undertakes the vocal depictions of the players from across the race-relations spectrum with tremendous skill. He manages to portray characters instead of caricatures as the sweeping real-life drama unfolds. Given the length of the recording and the density of the material, listeners should find it particularly helpful that Allen repeats the last few sentences of the previous disc at the start of each new CD. The solid production follows the authors' straight-ahead narrative approach. Journalism students and history buffs with at least some grounding in both the conventions of the news business or the civil rights era are the natural core audience. Others may wish to familiarize themselves with more general resources before tackling such an ambitious offering. A Vintage paperback (Reviews, Nov. 9, 2006). (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Before the civil rights movement, coverage of race was almost exclusively the purview of the black press, which reported on the plight of southern blacks facing brutality and Jim Crow laws and northern blacks facing a watered-down version of the same racism. Drawing on interviews, private correspondence and notes, and unpublished articles, Roberts, a journalism professor, and Klibanoff, managing editor of theAtlanta Journal-Constitution, describe the personal and professional difficulties faced by southern-born white reporters as they took up the coverage, mostly for northern publications. They chronicle the coverage of the Emmett Till case, Selma march, Montgomery bus boycott, and bombings and sit-ins that constituted the civil rights movement. Roberts and Klibanoff also recall the hatred and threats of violence against white reporters as they dared to report on the turbulence in the South. By retelling the civil rights story from the perspective of the white reporters who covered it, Roberts and Klibanoff demonstrate the profound changes the movement wrought not only on U.S. social justice but also on American journalism. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 4466 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (June 17, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001B35IBQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,639 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and instructive April 27, 2007
I have read a lot on the civil rights struggle, including Taylor Branch's trilogy, and Simple Justice, by Richard Kluger, and have appreciated all the reading I have done on that momentous struggle. But this account of how newspapers and television chronicled the exciting events told me a lot I did not know or had not remembered. The book is carefully footnoted and has a 26 page bibliography, in addition to the footnotes (thus avoiding the unfortunate lapse of some books which are well-footnoted but omit a bibliography). The book not only tells of newsmen and media sometimes going to great, even heroic lengths, to tell the story of the events in the clash between aspring blacks and the status quo, but also tells of the media which sought to uphold segregation. As with other books on the struggle, when one is appalled by the violence and murders which marked the history, it is some comfort to realize that in the end right triumphs. This book is an astoundingly interesting survey of an important aspect of the civil rights efforts of the 1950s and 1960s.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for History April 16, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Outstanding effort by legendary editor Gene Roberts, widely admired for turning around the Philadelphia Inquirer in the 1980s and leading it to multiple prizes in journalism, revisits, with co-author Hank Klibanoff, managing editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, both their own work in civil rights reporting and the work of colleagues to pen this precise and most interesting study of what journalists were and weren't doing when segregation was legal in the U.S.

Highly readable and fascinating history.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique view of that time in our history October 4, 2007
The Civil Rights Movement of the `50s and `60s was a significant and well-known period of American history. But have you ever thought about why it is so well known, or even why it had so much success?

The Race Beat is a story, not only of the well-known players of the Civil Rights Movement, but also the men who covered it in the media. These men poured their hearts and souls into covering the stories that would make the people of the United States stand up and take notice of the injustices being done in the name of "separate but equal," "justice," and "liberty." Many of these men had battled against Hitler over his racial elitism. Once they came home, they were quick to jump into the front lines of our own battle for racial equality before we descended into the depravity that Hitler is known for.

This is a fascinating insider's look at how the civil rights battle was brought to the forefront of the United States' attention. Blending well-known events with the stories of the men who were there writing about it, you get a whole new perspective of what these men were feeling and fighting for. Not just as outside observers, but compatriots.

This book is well written and well researched, but it is slow to start. I picked it up expecting the jump into the civil rights movement, but found myself in the `40s as they laid the groundwork for what the journalists were to become. It is also heavily journalist-centric. That is to say, there are references the non-journalists among us won't understand. But all in all, it is a great read.

Armchair Interviews says: If you are looking for a new perspective on the civil rights movement, this book is for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the very best November 17, 2008
By B. Bell
I read this book when it first came out and knew right away it was one of the very best I had ever read. Other reviewers have done an excellent job of pointing out many of the book's virtues, but I wish to call attention to one other. When Emmit Till's battered body was sent home, his mother demanded that his casket be open so that everyone could see the cruel mutilation he had suffered. More important--for historical purposes--she allowed his body to be photographed by JET and EBONY, the two black magazines with national circulation. The result was that for the first time white Americans had to look directly at a horrific truth they had been able until then to ignore. Ironically, it was at the trial of Emmit Till's accused murderers that the white press took over the civil rights story. Mrs. Till deserves more honor than she has received; her courage changed history.

I wish I could give the book ten stars.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation

-- Reviewed by Philip W. Henry
When the civil rights story began in the early 1960's, I was a freshman at a Northern College. So much was happening between 1963 and 1968 that it was possible to miss some of the real history unfolding outside "The Ivory Tower `while studying the past. Now, I'm trying to fill in some of the blanks in my education. "The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of the Nation" is a good place to begin. Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff were both intimately involved in covering the biggest stories of the South. Drawing on extensive interviews, and digging in previously unpublished documents and memoirs, they paint a fascinating portrait of the crisis of conscience and confidence that the civil rights story caused in the Southern Media Establishment.
The tensions developed in covering the race story were not just between White, Liberal, and often Jewish Northern News Organizations v. the Old South; but within the Southern Media as well. There were honest and decent Southern publishers and editors who decried the move toward Klan violence and barricaded school houses epitomized by Lester Maddox, Orval Faubus and George Wallace. Ironically, many of the top editors of the supposed Yankee Press (especially The New York Times) were Southerners themselves. (Turner Catledge, one of the T imes's top editors, was from Philadelphia, Mississippi, where the three civil rights workers were found murdered).
If anything propelled the Story of the South into the living rooms of the country it was TV News.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Item as described. Thank you!
Published 23 days ago by Keith
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading
Excellent. Eye-opening and compelling.
Published 6 months ago by Dale Cressman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very satisfied.
Published 10 months ago by Al Groves
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Perspective - important History
The Race Beat opens with a discussion of a prediction by a Swedish economics scholar, Gunnar Myrdal, who conducted research in the US regarding race relations. Read more
Published 12 months ago by MDCRABGUY
5.0 out of 5 stars Civil Rights Era Through the Eyes of the Press
Because I grew up during Civil Rights era and find it interesting to find out how it was for the press who suffered almost as much as protesters themselves. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Bernard D. Cook
3.0 out of 5 stars A Familiar Civil Rights Story Told From a Different Perspective
This book is about the television and print media reporters that covered the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's often at great risk to themselves. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Lionel S. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring books
I was. Inspired and energized by reading about the great heroes of the Civil Rights Movement. The movement would not have
been successful without the truth and truthful... Read more
Published on May 17, 2013 by roger carlisle
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written and researched
I can't say that I enjoyed reading this book because the topic is not an easy one to broach and the content covers some horrifying moments, but I there have been points where I... Read more
Published on November 20, 2012 by A. Chin
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulously researched
I studied History in college with a focus on Civil Rights, and the material still fascinates me. The Race Beat covers familiar stories, but from a new perspective. Read more
Published on July 24, 2012 by J. Sheehy
5.0 out of 5 stars Reporting From Hell's Kitchen
An important component of African-Americans attaining their civil rights was the press. Without the courageous reporters, editors and publishers, who risked financial ruin and... Read more
Published on May 17, 2011 by Franklin the Mouse
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