- Series: Library of America
- Hardcover: 996 pages
- Publisher: Library of America; 1st edition (January 6, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1931082286
- ISBN-13: 978-1931082280
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reporting Civil Rights, Part One: American Journalism 1941-1963 (Library of America) 1st Edition
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*Starred Review* Commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the March on Washington, this collection captures the long, arduous struggle for civil rights. The two-volume set begins with A. Philip Randolph's 1941 urgent call for black Americans to march on the nation's capital and ends with Alice Walker's poignant 1973 recollection of that march. In between are nearly 200 articles, essays, and book excerpts recalling the purpose and power of the civil rights movement and its profound influence on changing the status quo of race relations in the U.S. Volume 1, chronicling developments from 1941 through 1963, includes Carl Rowan on school desegregation, Martin Luther King's letter from the Birmingham jail, Charlayne Hunter on her harrowing experience integrating the University of Georgia, and Howard Zinn's criticism of John F. Kennedy as a "reluctant emancipator." Volume 2, which covers 1963 through 1973, includes Russell Baker on the 1963 March on Washington, Claude Sitton on the Birmingham church bombing that killed four black girls, Marc Crawford on Malcolm X's break with the Nation of Islam, and Earl Caldwell on the assassination of Martin Luther King. Other contributors include James Baldwin, Jimmy Breslin, Robert Coles, Joan Didion, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Gordon Parks, Lillian Smith, John Steinbeck, Calvin Trillin, and Tom Wolfe. Both volumes include inserts of news photographs, biographical sketches of the contributors, and explanatory notes. An important anthology for readers interested in the history of the civil rights movement. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
The advisory board for Reporting Civil Rights includes Clayborne Carson, senior editor, The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.; David J. Garrow, Presidential Distinguished Professor, Emory University; William Kovach, chairman, Committee of Concerned Journalists; and Carol Polsgrove, professor of journalism, Indiana University.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Library of America has published a two-volume history of the American Civil Rights Movement which focuses on contemporaneous journalistic accounts. The LOA's collection centers around the March on Washington in August 1963 which opens the second volume. The publication of the volumes, indeed, was timed to coincide with the 40th Anniversary of the March on Washington. This March is best known for Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech.
The first volume of the series, which I am discussing here, begins in 1941 and ends in the middle of 1963. In consists of about 100 articles and essays documenting the Civil Rights struggle during these momentous years. Given the centrality of the March on Washington to the collection, the volume opens with a "Call to Negro America" dated July 1, 1941 calling for 10,000 Black Americans to march on Washington D.C. to secure integration and equal treatment in the Armed Forces. Philip Randolph, then the President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters" was primarily responsible for this attempt to organize the 1941 march, and he participated prominently 22 years later in the 1963 March on Washington.
The volume documents other ways in which Civil Rights activities in the 1940s foreshadowed subsequent events. For example, there is an article detailing how Howard University students used the "sit-in" technique to desegregate Washington D.C. restaurants beginning in 1942. (see Pauli Murray's article on p. 62 of this volume). The sit-in technique was widely used beginning in the early 1960s to desegregate lunch counters in Southern and border states. There are many articles in this volume documenting these later sit-ins and their impact, as well as the original sit-in organized by Pauli Murray.
Among the many subjects covered by this book are Thurgood Marshall's early legal career for the NAACP, the Supreme Court's decision in "Brown", the lynching of Emmett Till in 1954 and the acquittal of the guilty parties by an all-white Mississippi jury, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, in which Martin Luther King first gained prominence, of 1956, the integration of Little Rock High School in 1957, the lunch counter sit-ins that I have already mentioned, the "Freedom Rides" the admission of James Meridith to the University of Mississippi in 1962, the Birmingam riots, and the murder of Medgar Evars, Missippi Field Secretary for the NAACP. on June 12, 1962. There is a great deal more, and the articles given in the volume address Civil Rights in the North as well as in the South.
There is an immediacy and an eloquence to this collection that gives the reader the feel of being there and participating at the time. The cumulative effect of reading the book through is moving and powerful. By reading the book cover-to-cover and as the articles are presented the reader will get a better feel for the Civil Rights Movement and Era that can be gotten anywhere else. The book records a seminal Era in our Nation's history and an idealism and a sprit that is difficult to recreate or recapture.
I would like to point out some of the longer articles that the reader should notice in going through the book. I enjoyed James Poling's 1952 essay "Thurgood Marshall and the 14th Amendment" which chronicles Marshall's early career. Another important essay is William Bradford Huie's "Emmett Till's Killers Tell their Story: January, 1956." which recounts the confession to Till's murder of the individuals acquitted by the Mississippi jury. Robert Penn Warren's 1956 book-length essay "Segregation: the Inner Conflict in the South" is reprinted in the volume in full. There is a lengthy excerpt from James Baldwin's 1962 "The Fire Next Time" which recounts Baldwin's meeting with Elijah Muhammad and his thoughts about the Black Muslim Movement. Norman Podhoretz's 1963 essay "My Negro Problem and Ours" remains well worth reading. Probably the most significant single text in this volume is Martin Luther King's "Letter from the Birmingham Jail" written in 1963. In this famous letter, Dr. King responds eloquently to criticism of his movement and his techniques voiced by eight Birmingham clergymen. The letter is a classic, not the least for Dr. King's writing style.
The book contains a chronology which will help the reader place the articles in perspective, and biographical notes on each of the authors. I found myself turning to the biographies and the chronology repeatedly as I read the volume. The Library of America has also posted excellent study material for this book and its companion volume on its Website.
This is a book that documents American's history and our country's continuing struggle to meet and develop its ideals.