As 1964 came to a close this venom-packed column was read by many in the white American middle-class and it must have seemed very clear to many among them that matters between the races would not be righted for decades to come. Written by the Harlem-born writer James Baldwin (1924 – 1987) on the occasion of the 1964 Harlem Race Riot, Baldwin did not simply denigrate the NYC Police Department but the culture, government and sacred documents of the entire nation.
The attached is an historic article that explains the lesson that so many white Americans had to learn in order that America become one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
There can be no doubt that many ragged, dog-eared copies of this middle class magazine must have been passed from seat to seat in the backs of many buses; perhaps one of the readers was a nineteen year-old divinity student named Martin Luther King?
The first three paragraphs of this article explain the 19th Century origins of a moniker that represents the most hideous institution born on American shores. The term in question is "Jim Crow" - a sobriquet that came into use decades before the American Civil War but was refashioned into a synonym that meant institutional racism. The article goes on to recall one African-American Congressman and his fruitless efforts to "clean up Jim Crow".
This article recalls the story behind the landmark Supreme Court case Brown vs. the Board of Education.
This is a light history of the African-American people; weak in some spots, informative in others, it's greatest value lies in telling the story of Blacks in the Thirties.
"Because the colored race comprises almost a 10th of the population of the United States, sociologists sometimes refer to the Negro as 'the Tenth Man.' As such, he is little known to the other nine. Yet there are 12,500,000 colored persons in the nation - black, brown and some so white that 10,000 pass over the color line every year to take up life as whites."
In this 1959 article Alabama wordsmith Wyatt Blasingame did his level-headed best to explain the sluggish reasoning that made up the opinions of his friends and neighbors as to why racial integration of the nation's schools was a poor idea. He observed that even the proudest Southerner could freely recognize that African-Americans were ill-served by the existing school system and that they were due for some sort of an upgrade - they simply wished it wouldn't happen quite so quickly. The journalist spent a good deal of column space explaining that there existed among the Whites of Dixie a deep and abiding paranoia over interracial marriage.