DOWN TO NOW: Reflections on the Southern Civil Rights Movement by Pat Watters

DOWN TO NOW: Reflections on the Southern Civil Rights Movement

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The point of origin of this book, says Watters, was the feeling that America destroyed the Southern civil rights movement; the process of writing the book, he adds, restored in part his faith in America. Slavery and Southern segregation epitomize for him the evil of U.S. society, an evil which blacks escape because of their redeeming position as victims. What will last of the civil rights movement will not be the nonviolent direct action push for integration but the black people themselves who ""nourished the organizational movement with the best of their belief, spirit and capability for human experience fuller than ordinary in America."" A pervasive sentimentality dominates the book, along with effusions of moral outrage at the depravity of the Southern white soul. What is useful is its copious collection of information, including interviews and occasionally insightful description: SCLC veterans, sit-ins and freedom rides, the futile quest for FBI protection, voter registration. Re-emergence of a real mass movement for Watters involves the ""maturity"" to know that the people must ""do for themselves."" Political currents and organizational trends must be intuited by the determined reader who, at this point in history, may feel the need of less evocation and more stringent analysis. Watters is information director of the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta and author of The South and the Nation (1970).

Pub Date: Jan. 19th, 1971
Publisher: Pantheon