GIANTS FOR JUSTICE: Bethune, Randolph & King by Beth P. Wilson

GIANTS FOR JUSTICE: Bethune, Randolph & King

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Three high-minded but limply generalized biographies that hark back to the rah-rah days of interracial goodwill and equal rights. Educator Bethune is handicapped as a subject by her reliance on white benefactors, the even tenor of her life, and the undramatic nature of her accomplishments as adviser, organizer, and spokesperson; only a knack for developing incidents and projecting personality, which Wilson conspicuously lacks, could invest her with interest today. Randolph, by contrast, made waves--as a radical journalist, black unionist, anti-segregationist--and even in this bland rendering (""They thought it wrong for some men to be very rich while others were very poor""); his story isn't dull, just dimmed. As for Martin Luther King, Jr., he's simply trotted out woodenly and put through the familiar paces. It's here too that Wilson's evasiveness--and especially her avoidance of prickly issues--is most apparent and most confusing. When King invades northern cities, we hear that he's responding to unidentified ""deplorable conditions."" A reference to protests precedes the outbreak of riots--which King is then said to deplore. ""Meanwhile"" he's taxed by militants for not moving quickly enough. Whether anything was to be gained by linking these three disparate lives is arguable; but Wilson, in any case, does nothing new or noteworthy for any one of them.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1978
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich