Worthy causes are believed to deserve worthy histories, noble aspirations noble aspirants, and any crusade worth its salt surely requires appropriate heroes. Sometimes these felt needs are met by historians. But more commonly they are fabricated without the help of historians by the laity (or by their willing servant, the tube), eager to tidy or polish up the past, to make it inspiring or dramatic or relevant or reputable or simply more credible. It usually becomes the task of the historian to clear away these fabrications in order to construct something approximating the truth.

Since it does not take much time for myths to accumulate, the historian of the civil rights movement already has his task cut out for him. David J. Garrow does not, however, address his subject in a debunking spirit, but more in the spirit of plain-spoken, aggressive truth telling. He sets forth his findings beside the myths rather than on their ruins. While he is aware that history is not biography and biography risks hagiolatry, he nevertheless uses a biographical framework on which to hang a good deal of history.

In fairness, the subtitle for his book (the icon in the main title is not unknown to the genre) should be kept in mind—Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Taken literally, the limits thus defined would seem to spare the author much criticism. When neither King nor the SCLC was involved or when the events came before 1955 or after 1968, he can plausibly disclaim responsibility. Those events include the long struggle by many organizations including the NAACP for the Brown decision against public school segregation, which came before 1955. King and the SCLC were not involved in that or in the upheaval at Little Rock and many other civil rights battles that came afterward. They are consequently passed over briefly or omitted.

Nevertheless, the years from 1955 to 1968, when King was assassinated, are central to the history of the civil rights movement; the SCLC played a central role in that movement, and Martin King had a front and center place in the SCLC. Since the book takes a biographical form the figure of Martin King assumes monumental proportions in this account of the civil rights movement. This in spite of the author’s insistence that King was modest about his role and his abilities, and in spite of the author’s awareness of the importance of less publicized figures, as well as his acknowledgement that the movement made King rather than vice versa.

The bus boycott of Montgomery brought King to national prominence. He was then a youth of twenty-six, just out of theological school, and, according to a friend, looking “more like a boy than a man.” The brand new pastor of the “rich folks” all-black Baptist church on Dexter Avenue, King did not start the boycott.1 On being thrust into the role of its leader, he “became possessed by fear” and “obsessed by a feeling of inadequacy,” he later wrote. It was out of the bus boycott experience, which lasted thirteen months, that King began to shape his strategy of nonviolent resistance and out of which the SCLC eventually grew. Out of it also grew the mass demonstrations, arrests, indictments and jail sentences, shotgun and bombing attacks, and all the components of media attraction that helped to gain national attention, wide support, and ultimate victory. At the beginning King announced that the boycott “was not seeking to end segregation, just modify its terms,” and that there was no issue “that cannot be solved by negotiations between people of good will.”

In the way that the SCLC grew out of the bus boycott the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) grew out of the sit-in demonstrations, and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in its activist phase came out of the freedom rides in the early Sixties. Each was shaped by its experience in the South. SCLC worked closely with preachers, professionals, and established leaders of the black South; SNCC formed closer ties with youth, with ordinary black families and local communities; CORE drew on northern and white support. Of earlier origins, with northern white ties, were the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Urban League.

Much of King’s energy went into keeping the peace and some measure of cooperation between these jealous organizations, and keeping their mutual suspicions and hostilities out of the public eye. It was the conviction of the NAACP that “we need only one national organization,” and Roy Wilkins stood ready “to show the young upstarts who was boss.” SNCC distrusted King’s personal commitment and neglect of locally based groups. All of the rivals were jealous of funds pouring into SCLC coffers through King’s efforts and they demanded a share for themselves. And within King’s own organization, even within his intimate circle, bitter rivalries come to the surface. Under the sheer excitement and danger in the initial stages of the movement, however, these problems were in large part kept submerged.


It is hard to imagine in the early demonstrations the feelings of these black southern youths who had grown up in a tightly and legally segregated world with “Whites Only” signs all around. Some had never dared look a white man in the eye, much less demand of him their legal rights, and few had ever openly defied the Jim Crow system. Suddenly here they were in the streets by the hundreds and thousands, defying all kinds of taboos and laws as well as violence at the hands of officers in uniform and Klansmen in disguise—police dogs, night sticks, fire hose, tear gas, gunfire, firebombs. And all this with unbroken adherence to the discipline of nonviolence, whatever the provocation. And, more than that, with an unsuspected courage and unity they were delirious to discover and a sure conviction that their cause was just. It is doubtful that any other Americans ever marched to drums more stirring.

Like the fortunes of the Confederates in the Civil War, those of recruits in the civil rights struggle come down to us in the names of places that have become symbols. For civil rights soldiers there was no Manassas and fortunately no Appomattox, but Montgomery and Albany and Selma and St. Augustine and Birmingham and Memphis have a new historical significance for their place in the later struggle. They not only stand for victories and losses with casualties and prisoners but also for milestones in the making of strategy, the mastery of the press, the forging of alliances, and the shaping of objectives. It was in the heat and sweat of those campaigns that leaders learned the recruiting of demonstrators, the uses and timing of demonstrations, the building and retaining of community solidarity, the limits of the law and the patience of its officers, and the art of producing martyrs with minimal bloodshed and maximum exposure to the cameras.

A blundering and manipulable enemy is an invaluable military asset, and no such asset was more treasured by his users than Police Commissioner Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor of Birmingham. The campaign at Albany, Georgia, had been less successful than it might have been for the restraint and moderation of white officers, and the lack of “photos of burning buses or beaten protesters.” To his lieutenant in Birmingham, Wyatt T. Walker King remarked, “Wyatt you’ve got to find some way to make Bull Connor tip his hand.” A day or two later Walker reached King by phone and reported excitedly, “I’ve got it. I’ve got it.” Connor had brought out his police dogs, a black bystander lunged at one with a knife, and that produced a melee of snarling dogs and swinging clubs over a prone black against a background of black onlookers. Young James Foreman of SNCC was shocked to see them “jumping up and down, elated” at SCLC headquarters. “They said over and over again, ‘We’ve got a movement. We’ve got a movement. We had some police brutality.’ ” To Foreman “it seemed very cold, cruel and calculating,” but the more seasoned campaigners had learned the price and worth of photographic opportunities.

Years of campaigning also taught hard truths of political action and maneuver. Leaders learned the hard way how far they could trust politicians and how they could use them. Eventually they discovered how they might sometimes play the US attorney general against the federal courts, the White House against Congress, Congress against the White House, and the electorate against them both. Marches and protests and jailings and threats of worse were sometimes coordinated and timed with congressional committee hearings and House and Senate votes on civil liberties, voting rights, and housing bills. Northern voters, sympathizers, and donors were the hope of the movement, and they had to be kept informed, sympathetic, and generous with their money. Mass movements are expensive.

Told through Martin King’s biography, as Garrow’s account mainly is, the story is one of human capacities strained beyond all reasonable limits. It is well that the protagonist acted out his part in the drama while he was still in his twenties and thirties. Back and forth across the South, across the country, across the Atlantic; back and forth between Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, California. In and out of jail. East Coast speech at noon, West Coast speech in evening. A speech to fifteen thousand in Philadelphia, and three more speeches in Newark and New York on a Sunday, two in St. Louis on Monday. Later on, twenty speeches in forty-eight hours. In and out of taxis, planes, hotels, sometimes two hours sleep, sometimes none at all. It was a pace that made the schedule of the average politician’s election campaign seem leisurely by comparison, and King’s campaign was not one of weeks or months, but on and on, year after year without significant interruption.


While Martin King was best known as an orator, and one of demonstrated effectiveness and international fame, his closest associates valued more his skills in conference and council, his instinct for the timely decision, and his gift for reconciling the apparently irreconcilable among allies and their conflicting principles, especially between his own unwavering commitment to nonviolence and tendencies in the opposite direction among his supporters. He worked under handicaps and vulnerabilities, knowing he had enemies who were dangerously well informed of his personal weaknesses.

Even his enemies had to acknowledge the physical courage he repeatedly and persistently revealed in the face of violent attacks. He was stabbed almost fatally by a mad woman and repeatedly assaulted by fanatics, once on a stage during a speech, once on a plane, once on a train, and in the streets twice he was struck in the head by rocks, not to mention tear gas and physical abuse by police, and the bombing and gunfire attacks on his home by unknown people. He repeatedly and publicly predicted his own assassination.

All this helped to cement the love and devotion of his followers, and the admiration for him at home and abroad. King’s oratorical triumph before the Lincoln Memorial at the Washington March fixed his image as the personal symbol of the movement firmly in the popular imagination in America and around the world. Honors and acclaim poured in from all quarters of his own country and from abroad as well. King was in and out of the Oval Office under both Kennedy and Johnson. In 1964 he was proclaimed by Time magazine “Man of the Year,” received by the Pope in Rome, and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of thirty-five. And yet loaded with honors and adoration as he was, this young man lived in daily terror of the exposure of scandal that would ruin him personally and mortally cripple his cause. His fears were by no means irrational.

David Garrow published a book five years ago on the FBI vendetta against King, including the numerous scandals it revealed about his personal life.2 Repetition of the scandals in his new book may strike some readers, as it did me at first, as exploitation of the sensational. Further reading, however, has persuaded me that this unwelcome information, however obtained, is essential to any full or honest portrayal of King and SCLC, and to an adequate understanding of the men themselves and of the conditions and threats under which they worked.

King came to FBI attention through his association with men the bureau believed, but never found evidence to prove, to be members of the Communist party or “sleepers,” passive underground agents, seeking to manipulate the civil rights movement through King. Attorney General Robert Kennedy assumed the FBI was right, and extracted a promise from King to break off these relations, a promise King failed to keep. In the meantime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was infuriated by King’s criticism of the bureau and authorized the use of the full police-state paraphernalia of surveillance against him. Not only were King’s house and office phones tapped, but teams of technicians secretly preceded him on his travels to “bug” his hotel rooms. Through the latter means the more sensational recordings were made of what the author describes as King’s “compulsive sexual athleticism,” as well as of drunken group parties involving other SCLC members and local women, on some occasions prostitutes. In addition to continuing “incidental couplings that were a common-place of King’s travels,” and for which opportunities were “virtually limitless,” he had three relationships “of something more than occasional one-night stands.” In Atlanta, where he established his wife Coretta to raise four children and confined her activities to running a modest rented house, there was also a “hideaway apartment” for one of the three mistresses, the one he saw “almost daily” and who “became the emotional centerpiece of [his] life.”

Not only did numerous associates and colleagues know of these activities, but he realized by 1964 that the FBI was also amply informed. The reason he knew was that a bureau agent mailed him a tape recording of “highlights” of ten months of hotel-room bugging. With it was an anonymous letter suggesting suicide as a way out. Coretta discovered the tape unopened in his mail and played it before King and several intimate associates. By this time Edgar Hoover had become frenzied and gone public in his merciless persecution of King, calling him the “most notorious liar” in America and “one of the lowest characters in the country.”

It was no wonder that King “became so nervous and upset that he could not sleep” and told one of his friends over a wiretapped line that “they are out to get me, harass me, break my spirit.” He countered with an attack on the bureau for its repeated failure to gain convictions in the worst crimes committed against civil rights workers—brutality, bombings, and murders included. An inconclusive talk with Hoover took place, and the worst of what uses might have been made of the taped evidence never took place. There are hints, but no firm evidence, of a deal that may have prevented the worst from happening. King had publicly congratulated the bureau on the promotion of President Johnson’s FBI liaison man. A trusted intermediary with the bureau “reported back to King that it would be wise to keep up his public commendations of FBI accomplishments.”

In spite of the evident dangers, King and SCLC did not appear to curb their free-and-easy style, and that style was not confined to their branch of the movement. A confidential memorandum to King reported Hosea Williams’s costly voter registration program had “degenerated in the main to an experiment in liquor and sex, compounded by criminal conduct, no less than a series of reported rapes.” A new staff member of high standing from Chicago was “surprised and shocked” at finding that “SCLC was a very rowdy place” and “the movement altogether a very raunchy exercise.” When he raised questions at an executive staff session about a party in Atlanta that featured a prostitute and the attempted rape of a seventeen-year-old secretary, “the meeting cracked up in laughter,” in which King joined. Some of his friends considered King’s habits “standard ministerial practice in a context where intimate pastor-parishioner relationships long had been winked at,” and others found them “typical of the overall movement.” As one insider observed, the endeavor was hardly “pietistic.” In fact, “everybody was out getting laid.” Repeatedly cautioned about his habits, King was sometimes defensive (“Fucking’s a form of anxiety reduction,” he explained) and sometimes remorseful, but more typically dismissive.

About the ethics of using such illgotten information, the historian must think first about the reliability and relevance of the evidence—not about its sources or their motives. For a long time historians have deplored the displacement of correspondence by the telephone, but they failed to reckon with FBI wiretaps and the Freedom of Information Act. Here is a source of evidence without precedent, recorded with electronic fidelity. Such evidence was rarely committed to paper. There may well be other American notables with equally colorful private lives who were honored by postal stamps and national holidays, but they were spared by a lag in technology.

More needs to be said about the methods and merits of the historian in this instance. The vastness and richness of the FBI materials are suggested by the frequency of their appearance in the book’s annotation. The author is scrupulous and ingenious in their use, and they have many and more important uses than as sources of scandal. Daily decisions, staggering changes of course, deadly inside rivalries, betrayals, deceptions, and cover-ups, as well as selfless devotion, heroic dedication, and noble generosity, otherwise impossible to recover, leave unconscious record in this electronic archive. In addition to these materials and the immense stock of source materials in print, Garrow lists some seven hundred people interviewed by himself or others. His prime and not inconsiderable virtue as a historian is thorough, exhaustive, and scrupulous research. His book is amply annotated and skillfully indexed.

The history he writes is linear narrative of day-to-day events with not much analysis or historical context. One shortcoming is of the type shared by military history that narrates all developments from one side of the firing line and treats the other side largely as a target or an object to be removed or circumvented. Of course, the police, troops, judges, and other white officials confronted in the course of protest and demonstration necessarily enter the narrative, if only as obstinate and mindless opposition. And a few of the white southern friends and allies of the movement, such as Clifford and Virginia Durr of Montgomery, are included. Stubborn and violent prejudice there was, of course, but ordinary white southerners are accorded no motive for their resistance to justice other than the blind and unreasoning racial prejudice of fanatics. This may be explained by lack of space in an already oversized book, but the omission is a regrettable one.

By no means an ordinary southerner and one outspoken for racial justice, Virginia Durr nevertheless had reason to know what ordinary white southerners faced in this crisis. She and her family were ostracized, deserted, and insulted by Montgomery whites and neighbors, and her husband virtually lost his law business. The Durrs survived only because they had so many relations who could not ostracize kinsmen. According to Mrs. Durr, it “all came down to economics”—clients, business, contracts, leases, jobs, credit at the bank and the store, not to mention the terrors of ostracism and isolation that affected one’s children.3 Whatever their feelings in the bus boycott, few whites could face this. It was certainly not as bad as lynching or beating, but it was enough to maintain apparent white unity and conformity. Only with these facts in mind can the intervention of southern white sympathizers be understood, or the eventual acquiescence of the white South in racial integration be appreciated, especially when it is compared with the behavior of whites in other regions and certain other countries.

Granting its limitations, Bearing the Cross is likely to remain for a long time the most informative life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the most thorough study of the civil rights movement, or the large part of it in which King and the SCLC was active. If at times King seems to loom larger than life, it is at least made clear that even though the movement would have taken place anyway, it would never have been the same without him.

Even after the movement reached its crest in 1965 and decline and frustration set in, King still kept a powerful place in it. The interorganizational jealousies, rivalries, and hostilities that had been kept more or less under control or out of sight during the early years, came more and more into the open later on, and King remained the best hope of reconciliation. During the Mississippi march after the shooting of James Meredith, Stokely Carmichael of SNCC defied King by raising the Black Power slogan and declaring that “every courthouse in Mississippi should be burnt down tomorrow.” To King this meant abandonment of nonviolence and integration and embracing separation and black nationalism, a slogan without a program, “a nihilistic philosophy.” Being only ten percent of the population, he pleaded pragmatically, “we can’t win violently. We have neither the instruments nor the techniques at our disposal, and it would be totally absurd for us to believe we could do it.” But SNCC would not yield, and shouting matches were common between “Black Power” and “Freedom Now,” the SCLC counterslogan. A split seemed inevitable.

Violence of a new dimension began in the summer of 1965 and continued the next three summers, in more than 150 serious urban riots and hundreds of minor disturbances mainly in northern cities. King’s response was to carry his war of nonviolence into the North. Having accomplished about all that seemed possible for the time being in the South, SCLC attempted to apply methods and lessons learned down South in the North. Chicago was the site chosen, and the main target was real-estate restrictions imposing racial exclusion that penned blacks up into violent and explosive slums. They would continue to explode unless the housing market were opened. Marches and demonstrations brought Mayor Daley and the Real Estate Board to the negotiating table. When rioting broke out King worked the streets all night fearlessly exposing himself and pleading with youths to forsake violence, but violence came, and he was knocked down by a rock. He declared that in the South he had “never seen anything so hostile and so hateful as I’ve seen here today” on the part of Chicago whites.

A series of disheartening events virtually demoralized King. The Chicago settlement with Daley seemed a “paper victory” or a “fiasco,” and the activists were tired. Financial crisis in SCLC plagued him. Two ugly outbursts occurred in the South—a white mob attacked black children to block a school desegregation in Mississippi, and Lester Maddox won a blatantly racist campaign in Georgia. President Johnson’s civil rights bill of 1966 was declared officially dead. Terribly depressed and pessimistic and uncharacteristically bitter, King found no comfort in the mystic “kitchen experience” over a cup of coffee in 1955 that he so often invoked in times of despair. He was afraid that “we could end up with a full scale race war in this country.” Catcalls came from one-time supporters, and he feared he saw a “counter-revolution taking place.”

In this mood in late 1966, King began to turn more to the left. He never abandoned nonviolence, but he now felt the movement had only made “surface changes,” or improvements limited to the middle class, and those below benefited little if at all. He disavowed revolutionary means and socialist ends but said that “something is wrong with capitalism” and “there must be a better distribution of wealth.” At a Senate hearing he declared that President Johnson’s “war on poverty is not even a battle, it is scarcely a skirmish,” and urged the guaranteed annual income as the best means of ending poverty.

For the SCLC King announced new strategies, goals, slogans, and campaigns. He talked now of civil disobedience and disruption tactics, blocking city bridges, halting traffic, boycotting schools as the effective alternative to futile and senseless summer riots. Such tactics would be “as dramatic, as dislocative, as disruptive, as attention getting as the riots without destroying life or property.” One means of implementing this idea would be a second “March on Washington,” one very different from that of 1963. This one would mobilize thousands of poor blacks to descend on the capital, “waves of the nation’s poor and disinherited,” he told the press, who would literally occupy the city and “stay until America responds” with concrete remedies, “until some definite and positive action is taken to provide jobs and income for the poor.”

The major departure from precedent, however, was King’s effort to link the civil rights movement with the campaign to stop the American intervention in Vietnam. He saw the war not only as “an enemy of the poor” and of government relief for them, but as a blow at America’s “moral status in the world.” He could no longer preach nonviolence in the ghettos without first denouncing “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today—my own government.” The initial reaction from the press was highly critical, charging him with reckless irresponsibility and betrayal of his own cause by linking it with a discredited peace movement. Even some of his closest advisers were doubtful about his Vietnam position.

Within the SCLC staff things went from bad to worse, with many reports of misconduct, demoralization, and misuse of funds. Jesse Jackson’s opportunistic conduct in Chicago incurred King’s distrust and personal dislike for the man. Enthusiasm for the Poor People’s Campaign faltered badly, and FBI undercover agents encouraged internal dissension. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then a Harvard professor, declared he had never attended a meeting with “an atmosphere so suffused with near madness” as one in Miami where King was present in January 1968. Leadership was “in the hands of near demented Black militants,” whom neither King, Abernathy, nor Andrew Young rebuked for their violence.

Tormented by conflicting counsel, inner turmoil, and self-doubt, and drained by fatigue, the besieged man fell into a deepening depression. Friends grew more concerned about his emotional condition. Returning after a brief trip abroad, Abernathy was shocked at the change that had come over his friend. “He was just a different person. He was sad and depressed.” Andrew Young recalled that “he talked about death all the time…. He couldn’t relax, he couldn’t sleep.” Young thought his fatigue “was not so much physical…as emotional.” He nevertheless continued a killing schedule that took him from coast to coast and back. In 1968 he told reporters in New York, “I’ve been getting two hours sleep a night for the last ten days.”

The exhaustion and turmoil showed in King’s face when he appeared in Memphis to lead a march in support of a local strike of sanitation workers. In the rear ranks of the march on Beale Street a youngster smashed a plate-glass storefront. In seconds violence and looting spread up the column, and the police attacked, killing one young black said to be looting.

Martin Luther King leading a column of violent looters who provoked bloodshed! He was crushed with despair. He told Abernathy, “Maybe we just have to admit that the day of violence is here.” He was sure “our Washington campaign is doomed.” As “a symbol of nonviolence,” he felt he was finished. The press response was as bad as he feared and some friends failed to rally around. A return to Memphis was nevertheless scheduled in April after assurance was received that a second demonstration could be carried out without violence. Departure of King’s plane to Memphis was delayed for an hour by a bomb threat. In a speech after his arrival King told of the bomb threat and concluded with a peroration prophesying his end. He had used essentially the same prophetic peroration on other occasions. But this time it was summarily fulfilled soon thereafter by the assassin’s gun.

Because the end of the civil rights movement followed so hard upon the death of Martin King, many have assumed a causal connection between the two events. Others have attributed the end of the movement vaguely to the Vietnam War. (Not Mr. Garrow, however, for he austerely eschews theory and sticks to his linear knitting of facts.) In my opinion the historian J. Mills Thornton III comes nearest the truth when he says, “The movement ended for the same reason that World War II ended: the enemies had been defeated.”4 By this he means the defeated opponents of civil rights and civil liberties, the movement’s goals as originally conceived and predominantly held to the end by the majority of blacks and the supporting whites. That is, civil rights as “founded upon ideals of individual liberty: equal rights, equal opportunity, equal justice under the law.” It was the black demand for civil rights in the traditional sense that raised an irresistible wave of sympathy from Americans everywhere. This resulted eventually in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. And in them the movement achieved in law and much substance its goals, at least as they were defined by individual rights and liberties.

As Thornton readily concedes, some leaders of the movement, headed by non-southern black leaders of the SNCC radicals, went beyond individual liberty toward collectivist egalitarianism, essentially the meaning of Stokely Carmichael’s “Black Power” slogan. In his last three years Martin King moved in this direction but always renounced revolution and violence and stuck to a communitarian socialism. The radicals recruited a small black minority in the South and West—Deacons for Defense and Justice in Louisiana, and the Black Panthers in California. They never attracted the popular support stirred by the goals of individual civil rights and liberties. Americans resisted the radical effort to separate the races as antagonistic to liberty and equality, ideals that had come to be traditionally (if illogically, in the view of the eighteenth-century Founding Fathers) linked. They would have none of this egalitarian collectivism. Thornton may be right in suggesting that hostility thus aroused had as much to do with the demise of the civil rights movement as anything else.

Some paradoxical results came from the skewed pattern of black progress. Hundreds of thousands of blacks were able, thanks to new liberties conferred and old barriers leveled, to improve their economic and social position. The number living in poverty declined from 40 to 20 percent in the decade ending in 1968. Blacks registered striking gains in political representation, educational achievements, and white collar positions. Black families earning more than $10,000 a year increased from 13 percent in 1960 to 31 percent in 1971, and the number of them in the middle class has been variously estimated from 35 to 50 percent.

On the other hand while these gains were being registered by black families, another 30 percent of them suffered a steady descent into deeper poverty than ever. Unemployment among blacks soared far beyond the level of the 1950s. New York’s welfare rolls doubled in the ten years after 1965, and those of Chicago doubled in half that time. Households headed by females increased 72 percent in the 1970s, and the great increase in child mothers and fatherless families meant further proliferation of unschooled, unskilled, and unemployable city youth. Success that the civil rights movement truly was, there were millions who were no better, if not the worse, for it.5

The crowning irony of the movement is that it sprang, not from the minds of city intellectuals or elite universities, but from the thoroughly segregated black churches, colleges, schools, and communities of the South. The prime object of that segregation-based movement was to abolish segregation. Its very success has gone far toward destroying the original bases of black improvement, draining off the able and talented, and leaving the black city-slum underclass “beneficiaries” of desegregation with few means and little hope of escape from their plight.

This Issue

January 15, 1987