WHO SPEAKS FOR THE NEGRO? by Robert Penn Warren

WHO SPEAKS FOR THE NEGRO?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1929-30, Robert Penn Warren wrote from England an essay on the Negro in the South which he recalls as "a cogent and humane defense of segregation." Today he writes with certitude from a far different stance. His recording of the Negro Revolution indicates the reason why. He has taped the opinions of a number of Negroes representing the spectrum of endeavor. He has talked with Dr. Clark of Southern University in Baton Rouge, an older man heading a Negro institution, and with Ruth Turner, an impatient, dedicated young woman in CORE. He has sojourned in Mississippi at the time of the Beckwith trial and talked with Charles Evers, Medgar's brother, and Dr. Aaron Henry and Robert Moses (Harvard out of Harlem, now with Snick). He has interviewed all the major leaders, from Martin Luther King to Malcolm X; and some "role models" that distinguished members of the race become, especially authors--Baldwin, Ellison (the show biz leaders seem to be neglected here). He has listened to young people involved in the Movement. He has found some areas of agreement, noticably in the feeling that the Negro is acting in search of his identity; some areas of dispute, notably as to means and goals. His own conclusion: white should act to promote a society "operating by the love of justice and the concept of law" in his own self-interest and toward his own freedom. This montage portrait of a revolution in process has a cumulative effect.
Pub Date: May 27th, 1965
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1965




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