MR. KENNEDY AND THE NEGROES by Harry Golden

MR. KENNEDY AND THE NEGROES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mr. Golden contends that President Kennedy used the power and prestige of his office in the area of civil rights in such a way that he deserves to be called ""our second abolitionist President""; that his outspoken support and clearly evident concern for the plight of the American Negro focused the nation's attention on this problem more than in any other administration. During the years that newspapers and periodicals failed to see the injustice of segregation as front page, headline material, Harry Golden was collecting the stories that got buried in the back pages or remained unprinted. They are recalled here to support his discussion. He compares the attitudes toward civil rights displayed by Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Truman and Kennedy. He employs a tone that is neither argumentative nor defensive; it is the tone of good conversation backed by considered opinion based on interpreted facts. For those who have sainted Roosevelt in all areas, he has an expressive hrug -- FDR played it safer than his first lady. He speculates on Truman's performance and its effect and is quietly incredulous over Eisenhower's virtual silence. Unfortunately, the Negro critics of Kennedy civil rights programs are waved away rather than answered. This is an emotional tribute from a reasonable man with a wide audience whom he continues to surprise. Segregation is an institution Mr. Golden has been watching for years, and President Kennedy's commitment to its destruction has his total admiration.

Pub Date: May 11th, 1964
Publisher: World