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390Southern Cultures value—is the one certain sin, and this good churchman is no sinner. He may have been more than once too sure of his own judgments. But the disillusionment he has continually displayed about the course of change and his own role in it leaves him where Julius Lester in his eloquent introduction places him, dwelling in "decency and courage and simple honesty." There are smaU mistaken facts in this book. None seems important, but a few might be noted for those young social scientists who, above all persons, I hope will read this challenging book. Roy Harris did not edit the Statesman but the Augusta Courier. Kenneth Clark was the sole director of the Metropolitan Applied Research Center. The Fortson of Americus, Georgia, was named Warren, not Eugene. Georgia's county-unit system applied to other primaries as weU as to state legislative ones. And though of Uttle import, KiUian's one reference to me—he and I had, to my loss, only a slight acquaintance—is a case of mistaken identity (it is, I suppose, a predecessor of mine he means). But aU that is small change. What he has written is a serious book, about a dreadfully serious subject: the American dUemma of race. He has written it with deeply charged feeling, for the South and the larger nation, for the ideal of the university, and most of aU, for the black and white people who struggle to make politics and institutions of worth. Civil Rights and the Idea of Freedom. By Richard H. King. Oxford University Press, 1992. 269 pp. Cloth, $38.00. Reviewed by Charles W. Eagles ofthe department ofhistory at the University ofMississippi. He is the author ofOutside Agitator: Jon Daniels and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama. Most people have some notion about what freedom meant for the civU rights movement: fairness in the judicial system, equal access to public accommodations, the right to vote, and an end to racial discrimination. Scholars such as Clayborne Carson have recognized the centrality of freedom to the movement by suggesting that it be retened to as the black freedom struggle; others have used freedom in the titles of their books: Robert Weisbrot, Freedom Bound (1990) and Henry Hampton and Steve Fayer, Voices ofFreedom (1990), for example. No scholar of the movement, however, has taken the important concept of freedom as a separate topic for study as Richard King now does. A Tennessee native teaching at the University of Nottingham, King has written The Party ofEros: Radical Social Thought and the Realm ofFreedom (1972) and A Southern Renaissance : The CulturalAwakening oftheAmerican South, 1930-1955 (1980). After reading widely and pondering seriously the meaning of freedom in the civU rights movement, King has written a thoughtful, expansive essay in which he seeks to provide "an inteUectual history of the movement, specifically a poutical-theoretical analysis of its rhetoric and thinking." Two indications of King's approach come early in the book. The first sentence of the preface declares, "Remembering tìie origins of a book is about as difficult as recapturing those early experiences that shape our lives." Instead of then explaining those origins as best he can recall them, King first devotes a paragraph to a discussion of Freud and his "screen memories (Deckerinnerungen).'' Only after that rather abstract digression does he get around to explaining how he came to his topic. In the summer of 1965 in Jackson, Tennessee, at a meeting of blacks organizing for the War on Poverty, King witnessed their Reviews391 political awakening. Later that year while teaching at Stillman College in Alabama, King realized that Hannah Arendt's On Revolution helped him understand what was happening among blacks in Alabama and the workers with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Particularly important to King was Arendt's conception of freedom as political participation, which, King believes, "was as close as anyone came to anticipating —and illuminating—the specifically political nature of the activities of the civil rights movement." After suggesting his general approach, a long footnote to the introduction explains, "Here the work of communitarian and neo-republican theorists such as Arendt, [Sheldon] Wolin, Hannah Pitkin, Bernard Brick, Benjamin Barber...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 390-392
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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