The Virginian-Pilot Review
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The Virginian-Pilot 5/30/65
Negro Revolution: 5 Views
WHO SPEAKS FOR THE NEGRO? By Robert Penn Warren. Random House. 454 pp. $5.95.
THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE NEGRO AMERICAN. By Leonard Broom and Norval Glenn. Harper and Row. 207 pp. $5.75.
MISSISSIPPI: THE LONG HOT SUMMER. By William McCord. Norton. 221 pp. $4.50.
THE SUMMER THAT DIDN’T END. By Len Holt. Morrow. 351 pp. $5.
LETTERS FROM MISSISSIPPI. Edited by Elizabeth Sutherland. McGraw-Hill. 233 pp. $4.95.
The books listed above deal, in general, with aspects of the Negro Revolution and more particularly, with the reaction to it in Mississippi during the summer of 1964.
Mr. Warren, seeking to acquire some first-hand knowledge about the participants in the movement, traveled thousands of miles throughout the country to interview people connected with the various organizations involved. He tape-recorded the conversations and his book is a transcript of these dialogues to which he has added “settings and commentaries” and minor emendations.
The author finds the Negro leadership to be extremely shaky. ”It was impossible to find a unity of views among the Big Brass.” He also senses a surprising apathy toward change among the poorer Negroes in the South and a definite resentment toward white liberals on the part of many Negro intellectuals.
Mr. Warren concludes that in spite of the lack of concensus (consensus) among Negro leaders there are matters on which these leaders are in agreement—they demand, for example, that they be recognized the respected. The author is of the opinion that respect can no longer be denied.
Messers. Broom and Glenn are sociologists and examine the changing role of Negroes as a cultural bloc and their relationships with white people; the transformation of Negroes “from a voiceless people, largely dependent on white benefactors and vulnerable to white opponents, to a people still vulnerable to whites but discovering new avenues of influence.” The authors mercifully spare the general reader the boredom of their professional vocabulary—but there are lots of statistical graphs!
Mr. McCord zeroes in on Mississippi and his personal participation in the events of June and July 1964. He concludes that the whole South is retreating from segregation and that the Negro revolt will gain force rapidly in the future. But before that comes about, in Mississippi, he says, a radical change in white attitudes must take place. “In these enclaves of barbarity, shotguns and bombs have replaced the impartial rule of law.” The author is not optimistic of any change in the near future.
Mr. Len Holt, a lawyer, formerly based in Norfolk, concentrates on the murders which occurred during the Freedom Summer Project in Mississippi. He bitterly assails the injustices of Jim Crow courts and in a lengthy appendix supplies documentary verification of his charges.
Hundreds of young men and women, mostly white, went to Mississippi to work with Negro families. Characterized as “beatniks, Communists and do-gooders” by local residents they were, in reality, the editors says, young altruists willing to work for a cause.
(Handwritten note in italics)Collapse