The Road From Rentiesville

The greatest historian of the black experience in America speaks of what has changed during his long life, and what has not. An Interview With John Hope Franklin.

No one needed to convert John Hope Franklin to racial consciousness or to social activism. For most of his life, as a scholar and teacher, as a public servant and activist, he has considered his personal commitment to social justice no less than a moral imperative. His ongoing and extraordinary career has broken and challenged many a racial barrier, from his student activities at Fisk University to his role as a historical adviser to Thurgood Marshall in assembling materials for Brown v.

 
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The End Of Racism?

IT’S SAID THAT FLANNERY O’CONNOR WAS THE first graduate of a university writing program to stake a claim to major-writer status. Dinesh D’Souza is a similar figure for the intellectual policy-journalistic training-and-support network that the conservative movement created in the 1970s.Read more »

1954

America looked good to a high school senior then, and that year looks wonderfully safe to us now, but it was a time of tumult for all that, and there were plenty of shadows along with the sunshine

It was a very good year. Certainly it was if you were seventeen. I was a senior in high school in 1954, a member of the class of January 1955, at Lincoln High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. They told us these were the best years of our lives, so we had better enjoy them. We all laughed at that, of course, but as I look back, they may have been right, particularly in September of 1954, when the first Thunderbird and the totally new 1955 Chevy V-8 lit up our limited horizons. Read more »

With All Deliberate Speed

Behind-the-scenes records reveal how the Supreme Court reached its fateful desegregation decisions

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States destroyed the legal basis for racial segregation in public schools. As it almost had to be in a case that stirred elemental passions, the decision was unanimous. It was also, as Chief Justice Earl Warren had told the other justices ten days earlier it must be, “short, readable by the lay public, non-rhetorical, unemotional, and, above all, non-accusatory.” Read more »

Rosa Parks Wouldn’t Budge

When one weary woman refused to be harassed out of her seat in the bus, the whole shaky edifice of Jim Crow began to totter

A neatly dressed, middle-aged black woman was riding home on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus on the evening of Thursday, December 1, 1955. Her lap was full of groceries, which she was going to have to carry home from the bus stop, and her feet were tired from a long day’s work. Read more »