Lay Bare the Heart
An Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement
Publication Year: 2013
Born in Marshall, Texas, in 1920, the son of a preacher, Farmer grew up with segregated movie theaters and “White Only” drinking fountains. This background impelled him to found the Congress of Racial Equality in 1942. That same year he mobilized the first sit-in in an all-white restaurant near the University of Chicago. Under Farmer’s direction, CORE set the pattern for the civil rights movement by peaceful protests which eventually led to the dramatic “Freedom Rides” of the 1960s.
In Lay Bare the Heart Farmer tells the story of the heroic civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. This moving and unsparing personal account captures both the inspiring strengths and human weaknesses of a movement beset by rivalries, conflicts and betrayals. Farmer recalls meetings with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Jack and Bobby Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson (for whom he had great respect), and Lyndon Johnson (who, according to Farmer, used Adam Clayton Powell Jr., to thwart a major phase of the movement).
James Farmer has courageously worked for dignity for all people in the United States. In this book, he tells his story with forthright honesty.
First published in 1985 by Arbor House, this edition contains a new foreword by Don Carleton, director of the Dolph BriscoeCenter for American History at the University of Texas at Austin, and a new preface.
Published by: TCU Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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..."DOING THIS BOOK has been a kind of catharsis," James Farmer wrote in 1984 as he completed the manuscript of his remarkable autobiogra phy. "It did not rid me of the past Instead, it placed that which has gone before in perspective, bringing me to terms with the present ... " This was the spirit that moved Farmer as he filled several hundred ...
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Gail Beil, journalist, biographer of James Farmer's father, and long time friend and supporter of Farmer himself, planned to work with him on the preface to this new edition ofLay Bare the Heart. When foiling health prevented Farmer from writing the preface, she wrote the follow ing, summarizing what she believed the author himself would have said. ...
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...would exceed the limitations of space. I would be remiss, though, if I did not especially thank Dr. William Haddon, president of the Insur ance Institute for Highway Safety, for permitting the institute's word processor to be used in the drafting and editing of the manuscript. My gratitude also goes to Rea Tyler, a good friend, writer and edi ...
PART ONEMississippi Revisited
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CAPTAIN RAY'S INDEX FINGER shot through the air. "Follow that police officer," he said with professional aplomb, "and get into the patrol That was a gesture and those were words destined to be repeated by Jackson's police chief hundreds of times in the next three months as Captain Ray's stabbing finger carne to symbolize his role in the drama ...
PART TWOPK (Preacher's Kid)
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SOMEDAY, SOMEONE WILL DO an illuminating book on PK's in the black experience. Preachers' kids. What becomes of them and what do they become and why? They lead lives unlike any others: exposed to merciless scrutiny, spared no censure, even denied most of the childhood mischief indispensable to growing up. Being forced to sit still through their fathers' ...
PART THREEDrawing Board
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JIM, FOR GOD'S SAKE turn on your radio," the shrill voice of Bernice Fisher screeched over the phone. "The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor! I slammed down the receiver and nearly broke the knob off the radio The following day, the president addressed the nation: "December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy ... " The sonorous voice of Franklin ...
PART FOURIntellectual Coming of Age
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..."FARMER, WHAT ARE YOU reading these days?" It was the voice of Melvin B. Tolson yelling, without straining, across a hundred yards of the Wiley "All right," Tolson thundered. "I'm glad to know that at least you are The meat, the broth, the whole meal of the college experience for this fourteen-year-old freshman was not the ivy-covered walls, though we had ...
PART FIVELooking for a Place to Stand
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THE HARLEM ASHRAM on Fifth Avenue, one house below 125th Street, was as incongruous in Harlem as the Bucket of Blood Bar, which faced it, When the several women-permanent residents, disciples of the leader, whorehouse had moved into the neighborhood. When these women gave friendly smiles to passersby or stood at the large windows overlooking the ...
PART SIXSpreading of the Wings
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THE fiRST CAPITAL OF the Confederacy had become the mecca of the civil rights movement in America, and an eloquent Baptist preacher sat as its A tiny schoolteacher named Rosa Parks prepared the ground in De cember 1955, by preferring a seat in the city jail to a seat in the back of a city bus. A Montgomery Pullman porter, E. D. Nixon, designed the edifice ...
PART SEVENCut Off at the Pass
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PRESIDENT JOHNSON'S GIANT FRAME leaned sideways over the arm of the leather upholstered chair in which he was sitting. His face was turned "Mr. Farmer, I've got to get this civil rights bill through Congress, and I'm going to do it. If I never do anything else in my whole life, I'm going to get this job done. It won't be easy, but I'm going to do it. I have to get ...
PART EIGHTThe Nixon Foray
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..."I am serious, Jim," spoke Robert E. Finch, Nixon's secretary-designate for Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). "I appreciated your serving on my advisory committee after I was nominated, and sitting in on the briefings I received from HEW officials. Your comments were very help ful. I would be very pleased if you would accept an appointment to a top ...
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THREE AND A HALF decades of pitched battles had left me war weary. At age fifty-six and in good health, I could not think of retiring. Like an aging prizefighter, I still found the shouts of the crowd aroused a pleasant nostalgia, resulting in a surge of adrenaline pumping through my veins. The wine of notoriety was a taste that still caressed my palate in memory. ...
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THE DEAD WILL NOT return, and our martyrs will stay at peace. We sur vivors have got a second wind, and the young will draw their first. Martin left us with a dream unrealized and a promise unfulfilled. Our nation deceives itself with the fiction that the task is complete and racism is dead and all is well. The myth surrounds us that America suddenly has ...
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Page Count: 370
Publication Year: 2013