The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation

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Vintage, 2007 - History - 518 pages
This is the story of how America awakened to its race problem, of how a nation that longed for unity after World War II came instead to see, hear, and learn about the shocking indignities and injustices of racial segregation in the South--and the brutality used to enforce it. It is the story of how the nation's press, after decades of ignoring the problem, came to recognize the importance of the civil rights struggle and turn it into the most significant domestic news event of the twentieth century. Drawing on private correspondence, notes from secret meetings, unpublished articles, and interviews, veteran journalists Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff go behind the headlines and datelines to show how a dedicated cadre of newsmen--first Black reporters, then liberal Southern editors, then reporters and photographers from the national press and the broadcast media--revealed to a nation its most shameful shortcomings and propelled its citizens to act.
 

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The authors start with Myrdahl’s insight that the majority of white Americans, particularly northerners, wouldn’t care about racism unless they were forced to do so. It was the press—particularly ... Read full review

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In the 1940s, Swedish research Gunnar Myrdal did an extensive study of Negroes in the American South. One of his conclusions was that their lives would not be much improved until white Northerners ... Read full review

Contents

AN ASTONISHING IGNORANCE
3
A FIGHTING PREss
12
SouTHERN EDITORs IN A TIME OF FERMENT
24
AsHMORE VIEws THE SouTH
43
THE Brown Decisions HARDEN THE SouTH
61
INTo Mississippi
75
THE TILL TRIAL
86
WHERE MASSIVE AND PASSIVE RESISTANCE MEET
109
ALABAMA versUS THE TIMEs FREEDOM Riders VERSUS THE SOUTH
229
ALBANY
256
OLE Miss
270
WALLACE AND KING
301
DEFIANCE AT CLose RANGE
316
THE KILLING SEASON
334
FREEDOM SUMMER
353
SELMA
375

ALABAMA
126
TowARD LITTLE ROCK
143
LITTLE Rock SHow Down
159
NEw EYES on THE OLD SOUTH
184
BACKFIRE IN VIRGINIA
208
FROM SITINs To SNCC
222
BEYoND
395
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
409
Notes
413
BIBLIOGRAPHY
463
INDEX
491
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Gene Roberts is a retired journalism professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. He was a reporter and editor with the Detroit Free Press, The Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and The Goldsboro News-Argus before joining The New York Times in 1965, where until 1972 he served as chief Southern and civil rights correspondent, chief war correspondent in South Vietnam, and national editor. During his 18 years as executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, his staff won 17 Pulitzer Prizes. He later became managing editor of the Times.A native of Alabama, Hank Klibanoff is the Managing editor/news at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is the former Deputy Managing Editor for ThePhiladelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 20 years. He was also a reporter for three years at the Boston Globe and six years in Mississippi for The Daily Herald, South Mississippi Sun (now the Sun-Herald) and the Greenville Delta Democrat Times.

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