BLACK PROFILES by George Metcalf


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Stodgy saints' lives of the moderate ""giants in the civil rights revolution."" Metcalf, a self-appointed hagiographer, seems to know no more than anyone else about the subjects of his profiles: he recounts the usual biographical and motivational data. For each of the Negro leaders there is a conversion experience, initiation to the struggle, hardship faced and conquered, leadership, and, often, martyrdom. The saints, some still prime-movers, are Martin Luther King, Jr., William Du Bois, Roy Wilkins, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Harriet Tubman, Medgar Evers, James Meredith, Rosa Parks, Edward Brooke, and Whitney Young. Perhaps most useful: the chapters on Du Bois, the pioneer revolutionary who initiated the idea of ""black pride,"" and on Marshall, who conducted the NAACP's legal battles until he became a justice of the Supreme Court. The author lauds these men who were durable--and peaceable in the face of discrimination. But the doctrines of the extremists--Carmichael and Rap Brown whom he mentions briefly he considers ""an aberration."" Metcalf is too cautions, too dry, rather tardy.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1968
Publisher: McGraw-Hill