RAYFORD W. LOGAN AND THE DILEMMA OF THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN INTELLECTUAL by Kenneth Robert Janken

RAYFORD W. LOGAN AND THE DILEMMA OF THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN INTELLECTUAL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Scrupulously fair and intellectually astute, Janken's (African-American Studies/Univ. of North Carolina) portrait of a lesser-known member of the black scholarly elite in the mid-20th century provides a valuable look at the man, as well as at his milieu. Although race relations in the US had been at their nadir for decades, Rayford Logan rose above his humble origins in part because his father was on the household staff of a prominent US senator--a position that protected the young Logan from the most brutal realities of a divided society. But attending Williams College in 1914 proved an eye-opener as the implications of segregation sank in, and a stint as one of Uncle Sam's segregated soldiers in WW I convinced Logan that there was a war to be waged at home. After a few congenial years in postwar Europe, he returned to America, taking up the cause of racial equality as an academic; eventually, he came to Howard University, where his reputation as a specialist in colonialism and Latin American affairs flourished. Tireless in his desegregation efforts--both as a public speaker and as chairman of the Committee for the Participation of Negroes in the National Defense Program--Logan also edited the controversial but timely What the Negro Wants (1944), a group of essays by prominent black liberals and conservatives who unanimously demanded an end to Jim Crow society. In time, however, Logan's star began to wane, and, in subsequent decades, his inability to accept the term ``black'' as a replacement for his preferred ``Negro'' hastened his isolation. A frank, well-founded assessment not only of personalities but also of agendas and the dynamics of power in the top tier of black America at midcentury.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-87023-858-2
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1993




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