Attached herein are a few pages from 12 Million Black Voices by Richard Wright (1908 – 1960). The book, published in 1942, is a poetic account of the challenging lives lead by African Americans both before the great migration and after their arrival in the North. The editors of Coronet showed their sympathies for this minority by publishing these pages, but they also showed their total racial insensitivities by running crude pigeon English captions beneath each of the accompanying photographs.
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.
Their line of thinking seems terribly alien to us, but, be assured, Southern white reasoning has come a long way since 1923...
"In most of our larger cities and many small towns there are thousands of Negroes who have successfully 'gone over the line' and are now living as white. Among them, it is said, are several well-known athletes and members of Congress - But you don't hear much about the Negro women who pass. The roving male nature makes it easier for a man to pass completely, though it involves giving up his family as well as his friends. A woman finds passing harder to take."
Click here to read about the social differences between darker skinned and lighter skinned black people.
This article recalls the story behind the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown vs. the Board of Education.
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.
Click here to read about the Harlem riot of 1964.
Although the attached article is indeed about the famous civil rights march on Washington that took place in August of 1963, the journalist made his primary concern the political gains and losses that remained after all was said and done.