AN ACT OF CONSCIENCE by Len Holt

AN ACT OF CONSCIENCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Negro lawyer Len Holt, known to his associates in SCLC, SNCC, CORE, and the local Movement leadership as ""Snake Doctor,"" has proven himself time and again a dedicated and effective civil rights advocate. One only wishes he had written more coherently of his experiences in Danville, Virginia, in the tense spring and summer of 1963, because the story of Danville is the story of (so far) failure, of (so far) the tragic waste of time, courage, pain, and great hopes. Fourteen persons including Holt are still awaiting trial under the infamous ""John Brown Statute,"" hundreds more for picketing, trespassing, and resisting arrest. Why didn't the techniques of Birmingham work here? And what would have worked? Mr. Holt is writing from deep inside the struggle, and this would be fine, if he could only communicate his intimate understanding more clearly to those who are not-- and cannot--be as actively committed as he. The meaning of the mess in Danville must be important, and Holt's adverse opinions of such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the NAACP are undoubtedly important also, but those not already in the middle of the fray will probably be more puzzled than persuaded by this tangled narrative.

Publisher: Beacon