PEACHTREE STREET, U.S.A.: An Affectionate Portrait of Atlanta by Celestine Sibley

PEACHTREE STREET, U.S.A.: An Affectionate Portrait of Atlanta

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One does not pick up a book about the South, these days -- even so unabashedly ""affectionate"" a book as this -- without looking first to see what the author has to say about The Question. Two chapters are devoted to it: ""The Darker Third,"" on housing, high society, and economics, and ""More Normal than Usual,"" on education. She takes great care to spell out the high incidence of good race relations and the bloodless (taken) integration of public education, but the problem, and Miss Sibley's attitude toward it, can be clearly understood after reading her description of Atlanta University, a group of Negro colleges. ""The University Center, the biggest Negro educational center in the country, has drawn gifted people to the area, frequently as students and teachers, and has nurtured and sustained, sheltered and refreshed them in what might otherwise have been an onerous segregated society"" (italics added). Long a reporter for the Atlanta Constitution, Miss Sibley knows her city well: the fortune that Coca-Cola built; the Communicable Disease Center where leprosy is only one of 200 research projects; Civil War monuments and ""Peggy Mitchell's Big Book""; the railroads, lovely homes and gardens, gospel-singing, and civic pride. Though she tends to sheer away from anything that would disrupt the rosy picture, she has managed sentiment without sentimentality.

Publisher: Doubleday