Reinhold Niebuhr to RPW letter 7/10/65
Comments on portrayal of Adam Clayton Powell and Martin Luther King Jr. and the "Conversation Piece" chapter in Who Speaks
Reinhold Niebuhr to RPW letter 7/10/65 searchable textCollapse
Stockbridge, Masschusetts (Massachusetts)
July 10, 1965
Dear Mr. Warren:
I dont (don’t) know whether this fan letter will ever reach you. Not having the Academy roster in the country, I am sending the letter to the Academy office in the hope that they will forward it to you.
I merely want to say that I have read your “Who Speaks for the Negro” with mounting enthusiasm. Your interviews with the great number of negro leaders and students are masterpieces of fair journalism in which the juances (nuances) of different philosophies and political attitudes are reported with such insights about the character of the individuals, their several backgrounds and their achievements, are clarified for me as no other book has done.
I appreciated inter alia your shrewd introduction to Adam Clayton P well (Powell) well by the simple expediant (expedient) of reprinting his extravagant self appraisal without batting an eyelash.
As a rigorous anti-pacifist, who nevertheless believes in the tactical value of non-violence for a minority, fighting for its rights, I also found your analysis of Martin Luther King’s philosophy, andof (and of) those of his critics, very meaningful, because King’s critics seem to reveal that he has not taken off the curse from pacifism, or finally succeeded in eliminating the sentimentality from the Christian AGAP concept, which must appear to the nego (Negro) minority the last word in the moral pretensions of the Christian white majority.
Final,ly, (Finally,) your last chapter: Conversation Piece”, is certainly the fairest and most comprehensive analysis of wh te (white) and black attitudes of various shades of hope, despair, self pity or self knowledge, as we confront each other in the continued struggle to remove the vestiges og (of) the “American Dilemma.” You know the human heart in all its variations and varieties. In short, you have produced a masterpiece.
PS Please pardon all type errors. Being paralyzed on my left side I have to do these letters withbone finger of my right hand. R.N.