This is a book that had to be written -- and who could have been found better prepared than Lillian Smith to write it. The...



This is a book that had to be written -- and who could have been found better prepared than Lillian Smith to write it. The Supreme Court decision abolishing segregation in our schools rocked the country -- and the world. What is its significance? What is happening? What is going to happen? This is not an answer in specific terms, but a charting of the problem, the challenge, the psychology, the thinking- all integral to the decision today and tomorrow. It is ""not the ordeal that determines our future but what we do about it"". And our success in dealing with it will place us in the current of history flowing toward wholeness; failure would throw us into the power of demagogues become dictators. The first half of the book explores the underlying factors that have conditioned men's thinking and the dire results today when democracy in the eyes of more than half the world in ""white democracy"" which has ignored the needs of the colored people. Democracy demands quality and goodness but cannot impose them on the people; it can only safeguard the right through a Constitution with potentials for growth. Steps- great steps --have been taken, not only in relation to this problem, but to all forms of segregation (spastics, deaf and dumb, mentally ill, epileptics- all of whom are being freed by scientific knowledge). Anxiety over inner conflicts is responsible for exploitation on the one hand, sustained fears, acceptance of laws. And on the other, slow evidence of protest. The vital need is the need to change the state of mind. We, the people, imposed segregation. The emotional deadlock must be broken. Part II charts the course, the things to do and say, the things not to do nor say. Mob hysteria broke out and seemed to win on a few fronts; but leadership proved more powerful than expected. There are little things that together bulk large that each of us can do, and these are practical suggestions for north and south alike. And in closing, Lillian Smith lists the 25 questions most often posed-and the answers. Questions every thinking citizen has heard; answers we might all well study and apply. The reading list at the end might well be posted in every public library. A short book, but one that is Must reading for all who believe that democracy can work.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 1954

ISBN: 157806631X

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1954

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