A Verbatim Transcript: A Forum: The Black Revolution and the White Backlash

New York: Martin C. Johnson Reporting Service, Circa 1964. Vintage transcript of the June 15, 1964 Town Hall Forum, The Black Revolution and the White Backlash, sponsored by The Association of Artists for Freedom, moderated by David Susskind, with panelists Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Lorraine Hansberry, Leroi Jones, John Killens, Paule Marshall, Charles E. Silberman, and James Wechsler.

In 1963, the civil rights movement was profoundly and indelibly altered by the horrid bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama by the Ku Klux Klan, killing four young African American girls and wounding up to 22 others. In response to the atrocity, a coalition of black writers, performers, and activists, including James Baldwin, Sidney Poitier, Clarence Jones, Ossie Davis, and Ruby Dee, formed The Association of Artists for Freedom. One of the most significant events organized by the Association was the forum presented in the transcript here.

Designed for white liberals and black activists, the forum was an attempt to engage both parties in an open conversation regarding the tensions mounting between them in the civil rights movement. Hansberry, quite ill at the time, was determined to participate, and famously declared, "We have to find some way with these dialogues to show and to encourage the white liberal to stop being a liberal and become an American radical." It would be her last public appearance before succumbing to pancreatic cancer in January 1965. The response to the forum was unsurprisingly polarized, with Harold Cruse declaring it "(a) radical, grandstand assault on white liberals," and Nat Hentoff arguing that the white panel members were just "estranged from Negro reality."

An uncommon contemporary documentation of a critical event in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

8.5 x 11 inches, bound with two gold brads, script style, and card wrappers. Pages with toning to the edges and first and last pages, else Near Fine. Wrappers, Very Good plus, with overall toning, a small chip to the top right corner of the front wrapper, and a 1 x 4 inch chip to the top left of the rear wrapper.

[Book #156263]