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Title: journalistic civil rights advocacy of Harry Golden and the Carolina Israelite /
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Title: journalistic civil rights advocacy of Harry Golden and the Carolina Israelite /
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Language: English
Creator: Thomas, Clarence Walter, 1954-
Copyright Date: 1990
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Full Text







Copyright 1990


Clarence Walter Thomas

This dissertation is dedicated to the late Herschele

Lewis Goldhirsch--better known as Harry Golden. As a

journalistic civil rights advocate and humanitarian, Golden

was involved in mankind and lived a life worthy of

historical examination.


The successful completion of this dissertation and my

doctoral studies could not have taken place without the many

blessings of God and the assistance of many people. I

extend my thanks to an outstanding supervisory committee.

My chairman, F. Leslie Smith, provided highly constructive

criticism and encouragement. My other committee members,

George Pozzetta, John Wright, William McKeen, and William

Goldhurst also provided positive contributions to the

development and execution of my research. I am indebted to

Kurt Kent and William Goldhurst for my initial exposure to

the work of Harry Golden.

I am indebted to Roderick McDavis, Kurt Kent, and Ralph

Lowenstein for their early belief in me. I am also thankful

for the financial support of the McKnight Foundation (FEF).

In addition, several librarians provided valuable

professional support. Shirley Thomas of the Alachua County

Library District devoted numerous hours to the reading and

editing of this document (my deep appreciation goes beyond

the expression provided by mere words). I am thankful for

the diligent work of Delores Jenkins and the kindness of

Priscilla West--both of the University of Florida library

staff. I am also thankful for the professionalism of Robin

Brabham and Randy Penninger--both of the University of North

Carolina at Charlotte library staff. Classmates Sybil

Stephens and Clay Hallock provided invaluable and unselfish


The encouragement of friends must also be acknowledged.

Sophronia Hamlin provided my earliest academic

encouragement. Mercedes M. Uzzell provided early

encouragement and support. Inspiration was also provided by

Hazel Harvey, Lucy Hayden, Sid Pactor, Patricia Darlington,

Harriet Roland, and Alan Fried.

Lastly and importantly, I extend heartfelt thanks to my

family for their love, support, and encouragement. My wife,

Shirley, and daughter Claire helped me in many ways and

provided the emotional support that kept me on an even keel.

My mother, Floretta V. Sears Thomas; brother, John Charles;

and sisters Estelle and Jerelene provided me with great

inspiration. My aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended

family members (Sears and Thomas) also provided me with

encouragement. My cousin, Charles Frazier; brother-in-law,

Carlton Ray Robinson; and aunt, Eunice Frazier deserve

special mention for their early support. In addition,

Estelle, Carlton Ray, and my mother-in-law Doretha Robinson

are thanked for their annual pilgrimages to Gainesville.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS......................................... iv

ABSTRACT .............................. ................ ix


1 INTRODUCTION ....... ... ..... ............ ..... .... 1
Purpose ........................................ 2
Plan of the Study ............................. 4
Scope of the Study ............... ............ 6
Procedure ............................. ......... 7
Definition of Terms ............................ 7
Previous Related Research ...................... 10
Notes .......................................... 12


Press Facilitation of Social Change ............ 14
Personal Journalism ................ ............. 30
Notes ................................... .. .... 39


Prelude to a Modern Movement ................... 48
Rationale for a Modern Movement ................ 53
Overview of the Modern Movement ............... 58
Notes .......................................... 75


Journalistic Transitions ....................... 85
Golden's Journalistic Contemporaries ........... 97
Notes .................................. . .. .. 111


MOTIVATION OF HARRY GOLDEN .................. 119

Background .................................. ... 120
Career Development ............................ 128
Notes .................................................. 138

RIGHTS ADVOCACY ............................... 145

Origin of the Carolina Israelite .............. 145
Form and Substance of Golden's Advocacy ........ 150
Opposition and the Closing of the Carolina
Israelite ........... ........................ 173
Notes .......................................... 180

CAROLINA ISRAELITE ............................ 192

Golden and the Civil Rights Community .......... 193
Golden and the Federal Government .............. 198
Institutional Recognition ............ ........ 219
Notes .......................................... 226

8 CONCLUSIONS ................................... 246

Golden's Motivation ............................ 247
Golden's Methods ............................... 251
Golden's Significance .......................... 255
Suggestions for Further Research .............. 258
Notes ............. ........................... . 260

REFERENCES .................... ......................... 264

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ......... .......................... 300


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy




August 1990

Chairman: F. Leslie Smith
Major Department: Mass Communication

This study examines the journalistic civil rights

advocacy of Harry Golden in the context of press

facilitation of the modern civil rights movement. Golden's

motivation, methods, and significance in advocating civil

rights for black Americans are assessed. Golden's

childhood, young adulthood, and early journalism career are

explored for insight into factors which contributed to his

motivation and philosophy concerning civil rights advocacy.

The origin and use of the Carolina Israelite are

investigated for insight into the form and substance of

Golden's advocacy. Golden's appeal to influential segments

of American society--such as government and civil rights

leaders--is examined for insight into the significance of

his advocacy. The study also discusses subject matter that

directly relates to Golden's advocacy. An overview of the

modern civil rights movement is presented to clarify the

setting in which Golden advocated civil rights. The press

is discussed from the standpoint of interaction with the

movement and eventual facilitation of movement objectives.

The concept of personal journalism is also explored in order

to provide insight into Golden's approach to journalism.

The study reveals that Golden's Jewish heritage,

morality, journalistic social responsibility, and background

as an immigrant were motivating factors which compelled him

to advocate black civil rights. Likewise, Golden's

motivation provided him with the strength to withstand

opposition. The study also reveals that Golden utilized

personal journalism through the Carolina Israelite to

facilitate--amplify, advocate--better interracial

communication, understanding, and acceptance. He

incorporated various forms of satiric humor in his personal

journalism including "Golden Plans," awards, poems, and

anecdotes based on racial themes. Through amplification,

Golden helped to magnify the importance and impact of the

civil rights movement. Through advocacy, he complemented

the work of the black press and helped fill a void in

southern white press coverage of the movement. A variety of

people--average citizens through Presidents--were aware of

Golden's journalism. Many of the people who had a direct

impact on the progress and outcome of the movement--

governmental and civil rights leaders--found his journalism

appealing, enlightening, and inspiring.


From the bondage of slavery, through the violence and

disenfranchisement of the post-Reconstruction period, to the

inequality and segregation of the early and middle twentieth

century, black Americans endured race-related oppression and

repression.1 However, from 1954 through 1968, America

underwent a major transition in racial attitudes,

traditions, and policies.2 The people, organizations, and

events--collectively a movement--which stimulated the

transition were presented to the public by the press. In

the process, not only was racial injustice exposed, but the

modern civil rights movement--hereafter referred to as "the

movement"--gained momentum and public support.

During the movement, many black and white Americans

spoke out against racial injustice and rallied to erase the

evils of racism and segregation. Harry Golden, a journalist

and author, was one such person. As a northern Jew

transplanted to the South, Golden witnessed the suffering

and cruelty inflicted upon blacks by southern whites and

empathized with the embattled blacks. Golden's experience


with race relations in Charlotte, North Carolina led him to

believe that southern whites "put all their efforts into

denying humanity to Negroes, depriving and dehumanizing them

because of their color."3 As a result of his insight into

southern race relations, he foresaw a revolution which he

believed the major southern daily newspapers, all owned by

whites, would downplay because "to report this story meant

describing the lot of the Negro."4 To forestall this

eventuality, during the 1950s and 1960s Golden editorialized

in his newspaper, the Carolina Israelite. He also wrote

books,s wrote articles for other newspapers and magazines,

and made personal and television appearances. He utilized

these outlets to foster better understanding and relations

between black and white Americans. With the tools of his

outspoken views and satiric humor, Golden wrote about the

struggle for black civil rights by vividly illustrating the

absurdity of racism and the ludicrous nature of

segregationist traditions and policies.6


Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. once termed

the racial conflict in America as "a struggle between the

forces of good and evil."7 Harry Golden, a champion of

civil rights, urged the deliverance of black Americans from

the evil of racism and the wrong of segregation. His

advocacy of civil rights exemplified the zeal with which

some segments of the press not only covered but facilitated

the civil rights movement. However, the role that Golden

played as a journalistic advocate in the quest for equality

and civil rights for black Americans has not been examined

in depth or systematically. The purpose of this study,

therefore, is to construct a historical account which

examines the background of Golden and assesses the role and

significance of his journalistic civil rights advocacy.

Golden is examined in the context of the press as a

facilitator of social change--in this case, the attainment

of civil rights for black Americans. In addition, through

an examination of Golden's writing--primarily in the

Carolina Israelite--this study examines his motivation and

methods in advocating civil rights for blacks.

Specifically, the study poses the following research


1. Why did Harry Golden advocate civil rights for

black Americans?

2. How did Harry Golden advocate civil rights for

black Americans?

3. What was the significance of Golden's advocacy?

Plan of the Study

This study contains eight chapters. The first is an

introductory chapter. The second chapter delineates

concepts central to the study of Golden as a journalistic

civil rights advocate. First, the concept of the press as a

facilitator of social change is discussed. The examination

then focuses on the concept of personal journalism.

The third chapter describes the historical background

related to the study and the setting of the study. It

examines the circumstances leading to, and the factors for,

the modern civil rights movement. An overview of the

movement is also presented.

The fourth chapter examines the interaction between

various segments of the press and the civil rights movement.

It discusses press coverage and advocacy of the movement and

the movement's need for and use of press coverage. The

chapter first concentrates on the transition of the civil

rights movement from primarily a black press story to a

topic covered by the national press. Next, the chapter

concentrates on four of Golden's journalistic peers who also

advocated civil rights and were admired by Golden.

The fifth chapter examines Golden's background and

career development in the context of the origins of his


motivation to advocate black civil rights. The Chapter also

examines Golden's philosophy concerning civil rights

advocacy. The sixth chapter concentrates on Golden's use of

the Carolina Israelite for civil rights advocacy. Discussed

are the origin of the Israelite, the form and substance of

civil rights advocacy in the paper, and opposition to

Golden's advocacy and the Israelite. The closing of the

paper is also discussed.

The seventh chapter concentrates on the appeal and

significance of Golden and his journalistic civil rights

advocacy. The discussion first addresses his interaction

with and impact on civil rights organizations and leaders of

the movement. Next, the discussion focuses on the role of

the federal government in providing and protecting civil

rights for blacks. Golden's appeal to and interaction with

leaders of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches

of the federal government is also discussed. Lastly,

institutional recognition and praise of Golden's advocacy

are discussed. The final chapter draws conclusions from the

study. It also assesses the implications and meaning of

Golden's civil rights advocacy.

Scope of the Study

The scope of this study is delimited in several ways.

The historical setting is the period from 1954 to 1968--a

time span that covers most of the major events and

accomplishments of the modern civil rights movement.8 This

period also included Golden's most active years of civil

rights advocacy. For background, selected and relevant

events which occurred prior to the modern movement are

discussed. Such events emphasize the interrelation between

activities and circumstances surrounding the setting of the

movement and activities and circumstances of earlier

periods. Golden's background and career development prior

to 1954 are discussed.

The study concentrates exclusively on Golden's

involvement with civil rights for blacks. Although Golden

often wrote about Jewry and a variety of social issues--

immigration, full employment--the plight of blacks in

America was a major theme in his writing.9 In addition, the

study primarily focuses on Golden's civil rights advocacy

through his own newspaper, the Carolina Israelite. To a

lesser extent, Golden's advocacy via other outlets is

mentioned to support the contention that his influence was



The historical reconstruction and interpretation

presented in this study is based on facts derived from the

collection and evaluation of a wide variety of primary and

secondary source material.10 Sources include, but are not

limited to: Golden's newspaper, books, and other writings;

Congressional testimony by Golden; Congressional reporting

about Golden; personal letters to and from Golden;

interviews; and secondary scholarly research--papers,

journal articles, and dissertations relating to Golden. In

addition, sources pertaining to the press, civil rights

movement, and other topics covered by the study are

utilized. Since the facts do not speak for themselves and

must be linked together and given a voice,11 the facts

collected and evaluated for this study are used as the basis

for historical reconstruction and interpretation.

Definition of Terms

Civil rights refers to the privileges and personal

liberties to which all American citizens are entitled by the

United States Constitution.

Modern civil rights movement refers to the actions and

events through which individuals and organizations

collectively pursued Constitutional privileges and liberties

for black Americans. Many authors who have written about

civil rights12 described the time span of 1954--with the

Supreme Court decision outlawing segregated schools in Brown

v. Board of Education13--to 1968--with the assassination of

Martin Luther King, Jr.4--as especially important. This

time span included the major actions and events that shaped

the attainment and implementation of civil rights court

decisions, legislation, and the opportunity for

participation in American society by blacks.

Disenfranchisement refers to the denial or elimination

of privileges and liberties. Although the term can refer to

a specific right to vote, in this study the word vote or

suffrage is used when reference is made to the right to

vote. Disenfranchisement is used to indicate the general

denial of privileges and liberties, including, but not

limited to, voting.

This study places emphasis on the print--newspaper--

journalism of Golden. However, the word press is used in a

general way to indicate the journalists and journalistic

components of various media. For example, the term press

can refer to journalists--such as newspaper reporters--and

journalistic components of the print media--newspapers,

magazines. Press can also refer to journalists--such as

television correspondents--or journalistic components of the

broadcast media--such as television and radio news.

In addition, several segments of the press are

discussed. The southern white press primarily refers to

newspapers that were located in the southern United States

and which were owned, operated, and under the editorial

control of southern whites. The black press primarily

refers to newspapers that were located throughout the United

States that were owned, operated, and under the editorial

control of black Americans. The national press refers to

the journalistic components of the print and broadcast media

that targeted a national audience. Examples of the national

press include the news divisions of the major television

networks--American Broadcasting Company (ABC), National

Broadcasting Company (NBC), and Columbia Broadcasting System

(CBS). News magazines like Time and Newsweek, and large

newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post are

also included. The national press was primarily owned,

operated, and under the editorial control of whites. Other

terms and concepts are either self-explanatory, defined in

the text as they are used, or discussed in Chapter 2.

Previous Related Research

Scholarly literature concerning Harry Golden is scarce.

Three studies examined some aspects of Golden's life.

However, the studies did not concentrate on his personal

journalism and satiric editorializing as a form of civil

rights advocacy. In addition, the studies did not place

Golden's advocacy in the context of press facilitation of

the struggle for black civil rights.

In a 1988 article for The North Carolina Historical

Review, Robert Hohner examined Golden's young adult--pre-

journalism--life as a stockbroker. In "The Other Harry

Golden: Harry Goldhurst," Hohner reported that Golden failed

in an early career as s stockbroker. Hohner also revealed

the Golden subsequently became bankrupt and served time in

prison for mail fraud.15

Leonard Ray Teel, in a paper presented to the history

division of the Association for Education in Journalism and

Mass Communication at their 1989 Southeast Colloquium,

included Harry Golden in an examination of the friendship

shared by poet and author Carl Sandburg, journalist and

author Ralph McGill, and Golden. In "The Connemara

Correspondents: Sandburg, Golden, and McGill," Teel

indicated that between 1952 and 1967 Sandburg, Golden, and

McGill met frequently at Sandburg's home in North Carolina

where they discussed literature, national politics, and

civil rights. Teel also maintained that the friendship of

the three men was cultivated by their meetings and

correspondence, which in turn influenced and supported the

liberal beliefs and writing of each.16

In a 1988 dissertation, "Harry Golden's Rhetoric: The

Persona, the Message, the Audience," Margaret Nash Sides

presented a rhetorical analysis of selected Golden essays,

speeches, and correspondence. Nash investigated the

rhetorical emphasis placed on audiences by Golden. She

concluded that Golden used logic when attempting to induce

action from his audience, and emotional appeals to attract

their sympathy.17

Numerous newspaper and magazine articles were written

by18 and about Golden. Such literature usually concentrated

on Golden's personal journalism, humor, civil rights

advocacy, human rights advocacy, Jewish heritage, or various

combinations thereof. In addition, Golden wrote 20 books,

including an autobiography, which also concentrated on

various combinations of the aforementioned topics.19


'W.E. Burghardt Dubois, Black Reconstruction in
America: An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black
Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in
America, 1860-1880 (New York: Russell and Russell, 1935) 3-
16, 630-633, 694-695, 702.

2Joseph Alvarez, From Reconstruction to Revolution: The
Black Struggle for Equality (New York: Atheneum, 1971) 103.

3Harry Golden, The Right Time: An Autobiography, by
Harry Golden (New York: Putnam, 1969) 239.

4Golden, The Right Time 250.

SHarry Golden's books include: The Best of Harry Golden
(Cleveland: World, 1967); Carl Sandburg (Cleveland: World,
1961); Enjoy! Enjoy! (Cleveland: World, 1960); Ess, Ess Mein
Kindt (New York: Putnam, 1966); For 2 Cents Plain
(Cleveland: World, 1958); Forgotten Pioneer (Cleveland:
World, 1963); The Golden Book of Jewish Humor (New York:
Putnam, 1972); The Greatest Jewish City in the World (Garden
City: Doubleday, 1972); The Israelis (New York: Putnam,
1971); Jews in American History (Charlotte: Martin, 1950); A
Little Girl is Dead (Cleveland: World, 1965); Mr. Kennedy
and the Negroes (Cleveland: World, 1964); Long Live Columbus
(New York: Putnam, 1975); Only in America (Cleveland: World,
1958); Our Southern Landsman (New York: Putnam, 1974); The
Right Time (New York: Putnam, 1969); So Long as You're
Healthy (New York: Putnam, 1970); So What Else is New? (New
York: Putnam, 1964); Travels Through Jewish America (Garden
City: Doubleday, 1973); and You're Entitle' (Cleveland:
World, 1962).

6William Goldhurst, "My Father, Harry Golden" Midstream
June/July 1969: 68, 73; William Goldhurst, personal
interview, 27 Feb. 1989.

7Ralph David Abernathy, And the Walls Came Tumbling
Down (New York: Harper and Row, 1989) 468.

8See definition of "modern civil rights movement" in
the definition section.

9Douglas Robinson, "Harry Golden on Things Remembered"
New York Times 26 Feb. 1968: 36.

'0Jacques Barzun and Henry Graff, The Modern
Researcher, 4th ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
1985) 21.

1"Barzun viii; Robert Shafer, ed. A Guide to Historical
Method, 3rd ed. (Honewood: Dorsey, 1980) 1.

12For coverage of the civil rights movement see: David
Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference New York: Vintage,
1988); Juan Williams, Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil
Rights Years (New York: Penguin, 1988); Howell Raines, My
Soul is Rested (New York: Putnam, 1977); and Joseph Alvarez,
From Reconstruction to Revolution: The Black Struggle for
Equality (New York: Atheneum, 1971).

13Oliver Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas,
74 S.Ct. 686; 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

14Abernathy 616-617.

15Robert Hohner, "The Other Harry Golden: Harry
Goldhurst and the Cannon Scandals" The North Carolina
Historical Review 65 (1988): 154-172.

16Leonard Ray Teel, "The Connemara Correspondents:
Sandburg, Golden, and McGill" Research paper presented to
the AEJMC Southeast Regional Colloquium--History Division,
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, April 1989.

17Margaret Nash Sides, "Harry Golden's Rhetoric: The
Persona, the Message, the Audience," Dissertation, Northern
Illinois University, 1988.

"1In addition to the Israelite, Golden wrote for
publications like Life, Nation, and Commentary. Golden also
wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column, "Only in

19See note #5.


Based on a review of the relevant literature, this

chapter delineates concepts that are central to the study of

Harry Golden as a journalistic civil rights advocate.

Golden, an influential personal journalist, exemplified

press facilitation of the quest for black civil rights in

America. Therefore, this chapter first examines the concept

of the press as a facilitator of social change.

Sociological, historical, journalistic, and civil rights

perspectives are discussed. The latter perspective explores

specific typologies through which the press facilitated the

movement for black civil rights. The chapter also examines

the concept of personal journalism in terms of definition,

derivation, and function.

Press Facilitation of Social Change

Social change in American society has been explored in

various ways by scholars from a variety of fields. For


example, some sociologists have examined why and how social

change takes. In addition, some journalism historians have

discussed the press as a facilitator of social change.

Furthermore, sociologists, mass communication scholars, and

working journalists have attempted to assess the role of the

press in the societal changes that were brought about by the

civil rights movement.

An examination of several perspectives suggests that

the non-resolution of social ills--such as race-related

repression--leads to conflict within a society--such as the

fight for black civil rights in America. The perspectives

also suggest that conflict within a society, and exposure--

press coverage--of that conflict, is related to change

within society. A discussion of these perspectives follows.

A Sociological Perspective

The social conflict model of social change indicates

that differing interests with competing goals in a society

lead to tensions, which in turn create pressure for change.1

As described by Ralf Dahrendorf in 1958 and Melvin De Fleur

and Sandra Ball-Rokeach in 1982, the four basic assumptions

of the model are as follows: (a) society consists of

categories and groups of people whose interests differ


sharply from one another, (b) components of society attempt

to pursue their own interests in competition with others to

preserve their interests by resisting the competitive

efforts of others, (c) society constantly experiences

conflict as its components try to attain new gains or to

preserve their interests, and (d) out of competition and

conflicting interests comes an ongoing process of change.2

The literature dealing with social conflict suggests

that the press, by playing a part in social conflict,

facilitates the proliferation of social moments and indeed

social change.3 According to Phillip Tichenor, not only is

social conflict a central component of social change, social

conflict is a principal ingredient of news content.4

Likewise, Everette Dennis maintained that the standard

criteria that make up the definition of news include

conflict as a major criterion.5 In addition, Tichenor

contended that the press contributes to the increasing

intensity and widening scope of social conflict, thus

facilitating change. However, he also noted that the press

serves a supplementary rather than initiatory role in the

development of conflict and change by drawing attention to

activity that is already underway.6 Similarly, Goran

Hedebro asserted that, while the press is not the prime

mover in social change, it can exert influence over the


direction of social change and little change can take place

without its participation.7

A Historical Perspective

Conflict and change are also central themes of the

progressive interpretation of journalism history. This

interpretation views journalism, or specific journalists and

publications, as facilitators of social and political change

that champion "good"--liberalism, freedom, democracy--in

conflict with "evil"--repression, inequality, aristocracy.8

Many journalism historians who have utilized a progressive

interpretation have likewise paid special attention to

members of the press who fought for the underprivileged and

others who needed help. Such historians have investigated

the struggle between the "haves" and the "have nots," the

"heroes" and the "villains" even when the villains came from

within the press itself.9

The progressive interpretation of journalism history

emerged in the early 1900s. During that time many

journalism historians were educators from newly formed and

developing departments of journalism at various

universities.10 James Startt and David Sloan contended that

the early progressive journalism historians believed that


the primary purpose of the press was to crusade for liberal

social causes and help to assure a better future for the


George Henry Payne's History of Journalism in the

United States was the first attempt to interpret journalism

history using a progressive approach. Payne's 1926 work

illustrated a struggle in which newspapers and journalists,

the defenders of freedom and democracy, were pitted against

forces that would abolish freedom and alter democracy.

Payne traced the development of journalistic power through

the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. He considered the

history of American journalism as inseparable from the

development of the democratic ideal. According to Payne,

democracy owed its strength and victories to journalism, and

no American political advance has been made without the aid

of the press.12

Edwin Emery and Henry Smith's The Press in America

stressed the influence of the press upon social, political,

economic, and cultural trends in America. They described

the press as reflective of society. They also described

journalism history as the story of the human struggle to

communicate despite barriers--"evils"--that have been

erected to prevent the flow of information and ideas. Since


the first edition in 1954, numerous new editions of the book

have been published to date.13

More recent literature on journalism history reveals

that in the past most blacks and some white women were

excluded from participation in the mainstream white press of

the day. Blacks and some white women were rarely covered by

the white press. In an attempt to right the wrong--this

"evil"--the black press and various specialized women's

papers were founded by blacks and women respectively. Henk

La Brie's 1977 Journalism History article, "Black Newspaper:

The Roots are 150 Years Deep," pointed out that since 1827,

the black press chronicled the events and personalities of

black America before it became fashionable for the white

press to do so. La Brie contended that understaffing, a

lack of advertising support, and reliance on second-hand

equipment were characteristics of the early black press. He

reported that 50 black newspapers, most of which were formed

to support the abolitionist movement, began operating

between 1827 and 1865. La Brie also noted that between 1866

and 1905 more than 1,200 black newspapers were started, of

which 70% were formed in the South. He also contended that

black publishers were publishers by avocation rather than

vocation and needed earnings from a regular job in order to

defray the costs of publishing a newspaper. In most cases,


black publishers had to rely on circulation revenue instead

of advertising, the usual source of income, to help support

their newspapers.14

Similarly, Lionel C. Barrow's 1977 Journalism History

article, "Our Own Cause: Freedom's Journal and the Beginning

of the Black Press," concentrated on the 1827 establishment

of the first black newspaper, Freedom's Journal. Barrow

examined the background, format, finance, content, and

readership of the paper. He maintained that the publication

gave blacks a voice of their own and an opportunity not only

to answer the attacks printed in the white press, but the

opportunity to read articles on black accomplishment that

the white press of the day ignored.'5

The 1965 Kansas History article, "Black Newspapers and

the Exodusters of 1879," by Nudie Williams, asserted that

when the South refused to fulfill its pledge to extend the

full measure of protection to all of its citizens regardless

of color, black newspapers across the country suggested that

blacks leave the country or at least the South. According

to Williams, in 1879, such a move did take place from the

South to the Southwest and the West. The move was prompted

by economics and violence.16

Sherilyn Cox Bennion's 1986 American Journalism

article, "Woman Suffrage Papers of the West, 1869-1914,"

revealed that in the past, the press (in this case a

specialized segment of the press, as with blacks) attempted

to right the wrong of neglect within its own ranks. Bennion

contended that suffragists were denied access to the

conventional press, and therefore resorted to establishing

their own. She also reported that the suffragists hoped to

give their movement a voice, expand its influence, and win

converts through the use of the press. In addition, Bennion

noted that the editors of the Western suffrage newspapers

came to journalism, not as a professional goal, but as a

means to the end of winning the vote for women.17

A Journalistic Perspective

According to Carolyn Martindale, twentieth century

American journalism has a tradition of responsibility to

society. Such a tradition has been manifested by the press

keeping watch on the "health" of American society and by

informing the public about serious social ills.18 She

suggested that when the press in a democratic society

provides the public with information about serious ills, a

"self-correcting capacity" may be stimulated.19 In essence,

if the American public is fully informed about corruption,

injustice, or oppression, citizens may become aroused and

therefore agitate for reform--social change.20

The concept of press stimulation of a self-correcting

capacity within the American public stems from an implied

press duty of social change facilitation ascribed to the

social responsibility theory of the press. Under this

theory the press, which has constitutional freedom in

America, assumes an obligation for social responsibility in

exchange for press freedom. Thus, the press fulfills

various socially responsible functions such as the

safeguarding of civil liberties.21

The social responsibility of the press is an outgrowth

of the work of the Commission on Freedom of the Press.22 In

1947, the commission, which consisted primarily of leading

American scholars,23 reported on the state and possible

future of the American press. Through the publication of

their findings in A Free and Responsible Press,24 the

Commission urged the press to provide a truthful,

comprehensive, and intelligent account of the day's events

in a context that gives them meaning. The commission also

suggested that the press (a) serve as a forum for the

exchange of comment and criticism, (b) provide a

representative picture of the constituent groups of society,


(c) present and clarify the goals and values of society, and

(d) provide full access to the day's intelligence.25

A Civil Rights Perspective

The scholarly literature pertaining to the press as a

facilitator of the civil right movement is scarce. In

addition, literature which does address the role of the

press in the movement tends to dwell on the shortcomings of

the press (excluding the black press--see Chapter 4). The

press is admonished for taking too long to cover black-

related stories and also for providing inappropriate

reporting after coverage started. For example, commenting

on the lack of timely press coverage of race relations,

Martindale argued that the press was guilty of decades of

inattention to the coverage of black-related topics.26 Paul

Fisher and Ralph Lowenstein contended that prior to 1954 and

the Supreme Court's decision outlawing school segregation in

Brown v. Board of Education, the press rarely treated racial

issues as a distinct and urgent news topic.27 Paul Good

asserted that the press began paying belated attention to

blacks only after the civil rights movement created

controversy that could not be ignored.28 However,

Martindale presented the opinion that the tendency of the

press to emphasize controversy and conflict helped to

produce a picture of blacks as dangerous.29

In terms of inadequate and inappropriate press

coverage, Fisher and Lowenstein also reported that the press

responded quickly to the violence and controversy

surrounding the racial story, while for the most part

ignoring the problems beneath the surface. They noted that

the press spent too little time and space describing the

problems of blacks, such as poverty, inadequate housing, and

poor education and the aims and goals of the movement.30

Similarly, Calder Pickett described the press as having

failed to report adequately on the causes and consequences

of civil disorder and the underlying problems of race


Despite such criticism, a close examination of the

writing of scholars and journalists who covered the movement

suggests several ways in which the press facilitated the

civil rights movement. These typologies of press

facilitation include exposure, amplification, protection,

and advocacy.

Exposure. This typology of press facilitation of the

civil rights movement can be described as the public

disclosure of the plight of black Americas resulting from

racism repression and oppression as well as the violent,


brutal, and legal means used to subjugate blacks. According

to Lauren Kessler, groups seeking to affect social change

can reach the widest, most diverse audience through the

press.32 Martindale contended that the press can expose

racial injustices and other problems. These contentions

were supported by Malcolm McCombs and Donald Shaw, who

suggested that through a process of agenda-setting,

political or other interest groups--civil rights

organizations--can influence media news priorities, thus

news coverage. Through agenda-setting, heightened news

coverage--exposure--of an issue or topic increased public

awareness of that topic or issue. In essence, people think

about what they are exposed to, even though they might not

adopt the ideas to which they are exposed.33

Taking a stronger stance, William Monroe, Jr. argued

that the exposure provided by day-to-day coverage of the

movement was indeed a factor in the process of blacks and

whites changing ideas about themselves and each other.34 In

addition, Martindale maintained that press coverage that

informed white Americans about the lives and concerns of

blacks might also have improved communications between the

races, thereby reducing racial tensions and potentially

arousing citizens to seek reform that alleviated

injustices.35 Similarly, Woody Klein contended that the


civil rights movement made more white Americans conscious of

their black neighbors.36 Martindale also noted that during

the civil rights movement the extensive coverage and graphic

portrayals of racial violence provided by the press shocked

the nation into a realization of the oppression and

hostility endured by blacks in the South.37

According to Monroe, press coverage was an essential

part of the civil rights movement. In his opinion, the

exposure provided by the press was a central means of

impelling people to see and confront ideas concerning

morality from which they may have otherwise turned away.38

Likewise, Martindale asserted that press exposure of social

ills facilitated the civil rights movement by playing a

significant part in the shaping of public consciousness in

matters of race.39 In addition, Samuel Dalsimer contended

that the intense press coverage of the civil rights movement

"stirred" the consciousness of America. He argued that the

civil rights movement could not have taken place without the

coverage and exposure provided by the press.40

Amplification. This typology of press facilitation of

the civil rights movement can be described as the

heightening of the importance and impact of the civil rights

movement, its purpose, objectives, and activities. Hedebro

maintained that the press can act as a multiplier of

knowledge.41 Likewise, Tichenor revealed that the press

plays a major role in accelerating a news topic to a higher

and wider level of public awareness, interest, and intensity

than it would have reached otherwise.42 Similarly, Monroe

contended that during the civil rights movement the press

forced a much speedier confrontation of emotion and ideas

that otherwise would have been the case.43

In addition, Tichenor also asserted that press coverage

of social conflict contributes to the legitimationn" of the

conflict. In essence, the recognition of a particular

social conflict--as during the civil rights movement--

confers status to the issues of the conflict such as racism,

segregation, violence, and other forms of repression and

oppression--thus amplification.44 Along these lines, NBC

television news correspondent John Chancellor, who covered

the social conflict of the civil rights movement, expressed

the opinion that, "Journalism does not initiate social

change, but can amplify it." He further contended, "During

the civil rights movement, the press worked as an


Protection. This typology of press facilitation of the

civil rights movement can be described as the prevention of

harm to civil rights movement workers through the regular

observation and coverage of movement activities and

opponents, thus providing the potential of exposure and

identification of possible assailants. According to Monroe,

during the civil rights movement the press was a powerful

deterrent to racial violence in the South. He maintained

that journalists symbolized the national focus on southern

violence and, therefore, many potentially violent incidents

were defused by their presence.46 Despite the deaths of

many civil rights workers,47 Lawrence Fanning also contended

that the presence of newsmen served as a protective shield

for civil rights workers. He revealed that in some

instances the United States Justice Department informally

urged the press to cover stories in order to protect the

workers while in other cases movement participants requested

coverage for the same reasons.48

Advocacy. This typology of press facilitation of the

civil rights movement can be described as the agreement

with, supporting of, and recommendation of, the ideals of

racial harmony--such as understanding and acceptance--and

attainment of civil rights for black Americans. Samuel

Dalsimer argued that support by the press is the most

efficient and sometimes only way in which a "cause" can be

advanced.49 Martindale suggested that when the press

provides a voice to the victimized, such as oppressed

blacks, a social climate that is conducive to reform may be

created. She also contended that during the civil rights

movement articles and editorials in the press reminded the

public of the American societal ideals of equality and

justice while pointing out the gap between those ideals and

the reality of the harsh life endured by many black

Americans. In terms of press advocacy pertaining to race

relations, she indicated that the press can promote

attitudes of acceptance, increase understanding, and suggest


As indicated, the commonality of social conflict--as a

factor in social change--runs through various perspectives.

In addition, the literature suggests that press interest in

social ills and conflicts stems from the social

responsibility of the American press as well as press

attraction to conflict--as a major component of news. The

literature also suggests that press interest in and coverage

of social conflict--as during the civil rights movement--

facilitates conflict resolution and social change.

The journalistic civil rights advocacy of Harry Golden

is one example of press facilitation of social change.

However, Golden, unlike most journalists, utilized personal

journalism as a means of social change--civil rights--

facilitation. The concept of personal journalism is

discussed in the following section.

Personal Journalism

Personal journalists are self-employed members of the

press who practice personal journalism--social commentary,

advocacy of causes--instead of reporting news events. They

usually operate small publications where they perform a

variety of duties like writing and editing. Golden once

described personal journalists as "journalistic jack-of-all-

trades. 51

By his own admission, Golden was a personal

journalist.52 In addition, his writing and operation of the

Israelite revealed that he attributed and demonstrated four

characteristics which collectively defined his concept of

personal journalism. They included (a) newspaper--personal

journal--ownership by the personal journalist; (b) complete

editorial control of the personal journal; (c) advocacy of a

causes) by the personal journalist through the personal

journal; and (d) limited staffing with the personal

journalist serving in multiple capacities such as publisher,

editor, and reporter. A secretary or other assistant may

have provided clerical support.53

In contrast to Golden's concept, others have viewed

personal journalism differently. For example, Jay Black and

Frederick Whitney in categorizing different phases in the

development of American Journalism described an era of the

personal journalist. They indicated that during the mid-

1800s, powerful and influential newspaper editors of large

papers, such as James Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald,

Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune, and Henry J. Raymond

of the New York Times established the basic tenets of

journalism as a discipline. Such editors are now credited

with providing the first evidence of social concern through

the press. They are also credited with creating new

techniques for improving circulation and for beginning

specialized coverage.

Newspaper sections such as finance, religion, society,

and the arts resulted from their departmentalization

ideas.54 In addition, Harvey Saalberg also stressed the

personal journalism and innovative journalistic practices of

Bennett and Greeley. Saalberg ascribed the development of

the editorial page to Greeley and the refinement of

advertising fee collection techniques to Bennett.55

Similarly, Black and Whitney credited Raymond with the

development of the idea for international, foreign, and

political news correspondents.56

The elements of Golden's concept of personal journalism

are related to various classifications of journalistic style

and approaches to news coverage and reportage. One such

broad category is the new journalism. The new journalism

emerged and developed during the 1960s and 1970s as various

social movements such as civil rights, anti-war, and women's

rights attempted to break down old values and traditions.57

Joseph Webb described the new journalism as a "reflection of

social realism."58 According to Charles Flippen, new

journalism is an umbrella term that incorporates various and

sometimes dissimilar styles of new and unusual reporting.

Flippen also considered the new journalism as a creative

endeavor of journalists of the 1960s and 1970s who sought

alternatives to the tedium of conventional media.59 Jay

Jensen contended that the new journalism differs from usual

or ordinary news coverage that consists of objective,

unbiased, factual reporting that is primarily based more on

information gathering and exploiting of sources than on

writing.60 Everette Dennis described the various forms of

the new journalism as sophisticated writing that is aimed at

highly educated people.61

The various styles of the new journalism include

literary, alternative, advocacy, underground, and precision

journalism.62 Of these five styles, three--alternative,

advocacy, and underground--share similarities with Golden's

concept of personal journalism.63 Advocacy journalism is

similar to Golden's personal journalism in that, according


to Dennis, most alternative publications are run by an

editor alone or with a small staff. Dennis maintained that

alternative publications serve as watchdogs over the

conventional media, keeping them honest by covering stories

they usually do not cover. He also contended that most

alternative journalists began their careers with large

conventional newspapers or magazines but became

disillusioned as the large publications grew even larger and

less responsive to the individual. Unlike Golden's concept

of personal journalism, in alternative journalism the

journalist does not openly profess a particular point of

view; instead the journalist relies on in-depth

investigative reporting as a basis for writing about social


Advocacy in journalism refers to the process by which

journalists express their opinions or inject their personal

viewpoint in news reporting thereby serving to support or

promote a cause or causes.65 Advocacy journalism directly

corresponds with the element of advocacy suggested in

Golden's concept of personal journalism. According to

Dennis, the advocacy journalist not only writes with

commitment to a particular viewpoint, but attempts to expose

and suggest remedies for social ills.66 In addition,

Flippen pointed out that advocacy journalists support


various causes, in part, due to a belief that traditional

journalism has overlooked certain social ills and

injustices. He also argued that advocacy in journalism is

in direct opposition to the tradition and generally accepted

role of the journalist as an objective observer and conveyor

if information. However, he noted that most proponents of

traditional journalism recognize a need and a place for

advocacy journalism as a supplement to traditional coverage.

He further contended that many advocacy journalists consider

the traditional journalistic ideal of objectivity to be

unattainable. Therefore, such advocacy journalists dismiss

objectivity and acknowledge their own biases and prejudices

which they, in turn, incorporate in their writing.67

According to Glessing, underground journalism is the

journalism of dissent. He also maintained that the

underground press in America is primarily a subjective

chronicle of youthful reaction to the technical, political,

and cultural conditions in American society. He reported

that underground journalism emerged in the 1960s from

youthful involvement in causes such as the civil rights

movement, social welfare concerns, Vietnam war protests, and

the drug culture.68 Similarly, Dennis suggested that the

underground press is a medium for young people who seek

alternative life styles and who feel alienated from the


conventional press.69 Glessing also viewed the underground

press as having been created to reflect and shape all those

alienated from the mainstream of the American experience.

He described underground papers as being written "by the

alienated for the alienated,"70 noting that such papers were

aimed at people such as hippies, radicals, college students,

black militants, poets, and intellectuals.71 Many scholars

recognize political and cultural papers as the two major

types of underground publications. Political papers

emphasize radical politics, left or right, and are based on

the belief that the underground press should be used as a

tool for political revolution. Cultural papers emphasize an

awareness of relations between all people in American

society. Although cultural papers may be opposed to the

political system, they include news and coverage of matters

other than politics--music, sex, and drugs.72

With the exception of subject matter such as drugs,

Golden's concept of personal journalism is present in that

of underground journalism. According to Glessing, the

characteristics of the underground press provide for an

exciting brand of personal journalism. He argued that the

underground press, through allowing individual personal

involvement in every step of the journalistic process--

reportage through ownership--provides the opportunity for



individual expression, editorial control, and advocacy. In

essence, the underground press offers aspiring writers the

opportunity to practice personal journalism.73 As

presented, many of the elements in Golden's concept of

personal journalism--which he practiced from the 1940s

through the 1960s--can be seen in the alternative, advocacy,

and underground news journalism styles of the 1960s and

1970s. The utilization of some of the elements of new

journalism, prior to the advent of new journalism, has

prompted some scholars to question the newness of the new

journalism and its various forms. Theodore Koop argued that

the new journalism is really the old journalism and contains

a mix of features from previous era of the press.74 Jay

Jensen maintained that the new journalism is not new, but

only borrows and revives old techniques.75 According to

Dennis, there is nothing very new about the new journalism

because every form and application can be traced to an

antecedent somewhere, sometime.76

For example, Flippen and Koop both contended that even

though advocacy journalism is considered a form of the new

journalism, advocacy in American journalism is not new, but

stems from the highly opinionated press of the 18th and 19th

centuries.77 Similarly, Black and Whitney asserted that the

roots of advocacy in the American press can be traced back

to the revolutionary press of the 18th century. They

indicated that advocacy through the press of that time

"fanned the fires of revolution" and helped to "stiffen the

resolve of rebellious colonists."78

Underground journalism, as a form of new journalism,

also lacks newness. Flippen suggested that the underground

press is related to various forms of counter or dissent

press from other times.79 Glessing's description of the

underground press as a radical or dissent press80 gives

support to a contention by Robert Cottrell and Edwin and

Michael Emery that the underground press of the 1960s and

1970s grew out of the work of the radical journalism of the

early to mid-twentieth century.81 As was the case of the

underground journalism of the 1960s, the earlier radical

press was a dissent press that concentrated on and advocated

political and social views, conditions, and institutions

that were different from the usual or traditional. In

addition, as with the underground press, scholars have noted

that some radical journalists were also personal journalists

who produced and published their own papers by themselves or

with a small staff.82 One such personal journalist who has

been described by various scholars as an alternative,

underground, and radical journalist--thus illustrating a

fine line between various categories of the new journalism

and a similarity between old and new forms of journalism--

was I.F. Stone.83 Stone owned and had editorial control

over his own personal journal through which he investigated

many unpopular topics and advocated various causes.

Stone began his journalism career in the early 1920s.

During that time, he published his first personal journal,

the Progress, while a sophomore in high school. He used the

Progress to present his views on news topics. Stone

considered the Progress an alternative to the sensational

news coverage--yellow journalism--of the traditional press

of the time.84

Many years later, after working for a variety of other

small and large newspapers, Stone started his second and

most famous personal journal, I.F. Stone's Weekly, later

changed to I.F. Stone's Bi-Weekly. He operated the paper

from 1953 to 1971, during which time he sought to isolate

and report relevant news that was ignored or downplayed by

the traditional press.85 Stone thrived on exposing

corruption and conspiracies, documenting abuses against

civil liberties, and challenging the morals and abilities of

journalists from the large traditional press.86

Consequently, he covered and presented his opinion on topics

such as McCarthyism,87 federal arms spending,88 racism,89

and the war in Vietnam.90

As presented in this section, the characteristics of

Golden's concept of personal journalism can be seen in

various other classifications of journalistic style and

approaches to news coverage and reportage. In addition,

much of the content of Golden's personal journalism--namely

civil rights for black Americans--stems from his concern

about the plight of black Americans and his interest in the

civil rights movement. The following chapter examines the

quest for black civil rights in America.


'Phillip Tichenor, George Donohue, and Clarence Olien,
Community Conflict and the Press (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1980)
17; Goran Hedebro, Communication and Social Change in
Developing Nations (Ames: Iowa State U.P., 1982) 91.

2Ralf Dahrendorf, "Toward a Theory of Social Conflict,"
The Journal of Conflict Resolution 2.2 (1958): 178; Melvin
De Fleur and Sandra Ball-Rokeach, Theories of Mass
Communication 4th ed. (New York: Longman, 1982) 19.

3C. Wendell King, Social Movements in the United States
(New York: Random House, 1956) 24.

4Tichenor et al., 17.

SAccording to Dennis, the other standard criteria of
news are progress, disaster, timelessness, and proximity.
See Everette Dennis and John Merrill, Basic Issues in Mass
Communication (New York: Macmillan, 1984) 140.

6Tichenor et al., 19, 136-137.

7Hedebro 93-94.

8Joseph McKerns, "The Limits of Progressive Journalism
History," Journalism History 4.3 (1977): 88; Michael Emery,
"The Writing of American Journalism History," Journalism
History 10. 3-4 (1983): 42; James Startt and David Sloan,
Historical Methods in Mass Communication (Hillsdale:
Erlbaum, 1989) 29.

9Emery Writing of 42.

1oStartt and Sloan 29; Carolyn Marvin, "Space, Time,
and Captive Communication History," Mass Communication
Review Yearbook v. 5 (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1985) 111.

"1Startt and Sloan 29.

12George Henry Payne, History of Journalism in the
United States (New York: Appleton, 1926) 16-26.

13Edward Emery and Henry Smith, The Press and America
(New York: Prentice-Hall, 1954); Edwin Emery and Michael
Emery, The Press and America: An Interpretive History of the
Mass Media 5th ed (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1984) v.

'4Henry La Brie, "Black Newspapers: The Roots are 150
Years Deep," Journalism History 4.4 (1978-79): 111-113.

I"Lionel Barrow, Jr., "Our Own Cause: Freedom's Journal
and the Beginnings of the Black Press," Journalism History
4.4 (1977-78): 118-122.

"1Nudie Williams, "Black Newspapers and the Exodusters
of 1879," Kansas History 8 (1985-86): 217-225.

17Sherilyn Cox Bennion, "Woman Suffrage Papers of the
West, 1869-1914," American Journalism 3 (1986): 125-141.

"Carolyn Martindale, The White Press and Black America
(New York: Greenwood, 1986) 15-16.

19Martindale 15.

2oMartindale 15.

"William Rivers, Theodore Peterson, and Jay Jensen,
The Mass Media and Modern Society 2nd ed. (New York: Holt,

Rinehart, and Winston, 1971) 88; Fred Siebert, Theodore
Peterson, and Wilbur Schramm, Four Theories of the Press
(Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1972) 74; In addition, according
to Siebert et al., the other functions of the press under
social responsibility are: 1) servicing the political system
by providing information, discussion, and debate on
political affairs, 2) enlightening the public so as to make
it capable of self-government, 3) servicing the economic
system, primarily by bringing together the buyers and
sellers of goods and services through the medium of
advertising, 4) providing entertainment, and 5) maintaining
its own financial self-sufficiency so as to be free from the
pressures of special interests; see Siebert et al. 74.

22Siebert et al. 73.

"Robert M. Hutchins, Chancellor of the University of
Chicago, served as Chairman of the Commission and Zechariah
Chafee, Jr., a Professor of Law at Harvard University,
served as Vice Chairman of the Commission. The other
commission members were: John M. Clark, a Professor of
Economics at Columbia University; John Dickinson, a
Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania; William
E. Hocking, a Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University;
Harold D. Lasswell, a Professor of Law at Yale University;
Archibald MacLeish, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of
State; Charles E. Merriam, a Professor of Political Science
at the University of Chicago; Reinhold Niebuhr, a Professor
of Ethics and Philosophy of Religion at Union Theological
Seminary; Robert Redfield, a Professor of Anthropology at
the University of Chicago; Beardsley Ruml, Chairman of the
Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Arthur M. Schlesinger, a
Professor of History at Harvard University; and George N.
Schuster, the President of Hunter College. See Commission
on Freedom of the Press, A Free and Responsible Press
(Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1947) ii.

24The Commission also published Freedom of the Press: A
Framework of Principle, Government and Mass Communications,
Freedom of the Movies, People Speaking to People, The
American Radio, and The American Press and the San Francisco
Conference; See Commission on Freedom of the Press ix.

25Commission on Freedom of the Press 20-28.

26Martindale 1-2.

27Paul Fisher and Ralph Lowenstein, eds. Race and the
News Media (New York: Praeger, 1967) 4; See Chapter 3 of
this study and Oliver Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka,
Kansas, 74 S.Ct. 686 and 347 U.S. 483, 1954.

28Paul Good, The Trouble I've Seen (Washington, D.C.:
Howard U P, 1975) 253.

29Martindale 56.

30Fisher and Lowenstein 5.

31Calder M. Pickett, Voices of the Past: Key Documents
in the History of American Journalism (Columbus: Grid, 1977)

32Lauren Kessler, The Dissident Press: An Alternative
Journalism in American History (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1984)

"Malcolm McCombs and Donald Shaw, "The Agenda-Setting
Function of the Press," Public Opinion Quarterly 36 (1972)

34William Monroe, Jr., "Television: The Chosen
Instrument of the Revolution," Race and the News Media Paul
Fisher and Ralph Lowenstein eds (New York: Praeger, 1967)

35Martindale 10-11.

36Woody Klein, "The New Revolution: A Postscript," Race
and News Media Paul Fisher and Ralph Lowenstein eds. (New
York: Praeger, 1967) 144.

37Martindale 10-11.

38Monroe 88.

39Martindale 26, 28.

40Samuel Dalsimer, "The Justice of Persuasion," Race
and the News Media Paul Fisher and Ralph Lowenstein eds.
(New York: Praeger, 1967) 120.


41Hedebro 18.

42Tichenor, et al. 119.

4Monroe 89.

44Tichenor et al. 114.

45John Chancellor, interview, Dateline: The Press and
Civil Rights PBS, WUFT TV, Gainesville, FL 3 May 1989.

4Monroe 88.

4See "Martyrs" in Chapter 3, section 3, of this study
for a discussion of the deaths of civil rights workers.

48Lawrence Fanning, "The Media: Observer or
Participant?" Race and the News Media Paul Fisher and Ralph
Lowenstein eds. (New York: Praeger, 1967) 110.

49Dalsimer 113.

50Martindale 7, 11.

51Harry Golden, "The Topic of the Times," Carolina
Israelite Dec. 1957: 11.

52Harry Golden, The Right Time: An Autobiography, by
Harry Golden (New York: Putnam, 1969) 364.

"3Golden, The Right Time, 252-255; Harry Golden,
"Goodbye," Carolina Israelite Jan./Feb. 1968: 1.

54Jay Black and Frederick Whitney, Mass Communication
(Dubuque: Brown, 1983) 46.

"Harvey Saalberg, "Bennett and Greeley, Professional
Rivals, Had Much in Common," Journalism Quarterly 49.3
(1972) 538-540.

56Black and Whitney 46.

57Jay Jensen, "Excerpt from the New Journalism in
Historical Perspective," Journalism History 1.2 (1974) 37;


Everette Dennis, The Magic Writing Machine (Eugene: U of
Oregon, 1971) 1.

58Joseph Webb, "Historical Perspectives on the New
Journalism," Journalism History 1.2 (1974) 38.

59Charles Flippen, Liberating the Media: The New
Journalism (Washington, D.C.: Acropolis, 1974) 10; Dennis 2.

60Jensen, Excerpt 37.

61Dennis 10.

62Flippen 10-11; Dennis 4.

63Literary journalism, which utilizes fiction literary
techniques in non-fiction journalistic writing, and
Precision Journalism, which utilizes social science research
techniques in the precise reporting of trends and
conditions, are not related to personal journalism; For a
discussion of each see Flippen 1, and Dennis 8.

4Dennis 5-6.

65Flippen 12; Dennis 7.

66Dennis 6.

67Flippen 12-13.

"Robert Glessing, The Underground Press in America
(Bloomington: Indiana U P, 1970) xiii, xiv, 6, 11.

69Dennis 7.

70Glessing 3.

71Glessing 12.

72Glessing 98; Dennis 7; Flippen 14.

73Glessing xiii, xiv, 99.

74Theodore Koop, "Personal Journalism in Television,"
Liberating the Media: The New Journalism Charles Flippen
(Washington, D.C.: Acropolis, 1974) 145.

"7Jay Jensen, "The New Journalism in Historical
Perspective," Liberating the Media: The New Journalism
Charles Flippen (Washington, D.C., Acropolis, 1974) 19.

76Dennis 1.

77Flippen 12; Koop 145.

78Black and Whitney 42-43.

79Flippen 14.

8sGlessing xiii, 98.

"Robert Cottrell, "I.F. Stone: A Maverick Journalist's
Battle with the Superpowers," Journalism History 12.2 (1985)
62; Emery and Emery 571.

82Joseph Conlin, ed. The American Radical Press: 1880-
1960 Vol. 1 and 2 (Westport: Greenwood, 1974) 3, 563.

83I.F. Stone has been described as an alternative
journalist by Dennis, and by Emery and Emery; See Dennis 6
and Emery 573; He has also been described as the progenitor
of underground journalism by Cottrell and as a radical
journalist by Conlin; See Cottrell 62 and Conlin 622.

84I.F. Stone, "Notes on Closing, But not in Farewell,"
I.F. Stone's Bi-Weekly Dec. 1971: 1.

"Conlin vii 622-624; Cottrell 62.

86Cottrell 63; Conlin vii 618.

87For example, see I.F. Stone, "Time for a Deportation
to Wisconsin," I.F. Stone's Weekly April 1953: 2; I.F.
Stone, "McCarthy Falls Back on the Lunatic Fringe," I.F.
Stone's Weekly Nov. 1954: 1.


8For example, see I.F. Stone, "The Fear that Fuels the
Arms Race," I.F. Stone's Bi-Weekly Oct. 1971: 1.

89For example, see I.F. Stone, "The Right to Keep Other
Human Beings 'Niggers'," I.F. Stone's Weekly Sept. 1956: 4;
I.F. Stone, "The South Begins a Strategic Retreat," I.F.
Stone's Weekly Feb. 1959: 1; I.F. Stone, "The Senate Debate
Through Negro Eyes," I.F. Stone's Weekly July 1957: 1; I.F.
Stone, "The FBI's Indifference to Civil Rights," I.F.
Stone's Bi-Weekly Oct. 1963: 1.

90For example, see I.F. Stone, "The Best Kept Secret of
the Vietnam War," I.F. Stone's Weekly April 1969: 1; I.F.
Stone, Polemics and Prophecies: 1967-1970 (New York: Random
House, 1970) 360.


The civil rights advocacy of Harry Golden was

indicative of his concern about the plight of black

Americans. He was outraged by racism, segregation, and the

resulting cruelty inflicted by whites and endured by

blacks.' The arena of civil rights was Golden's

battlefield. The press--personal journalism--was his

weapon. His humor, outspokenness, and dedication were his

ammunition. In essence, the people and events of the civil

rights movement, as well as Golden's concern for blacks as

fellow human beings, served to influence and mold his


Based on the relevant historical literature, this

chapter examines the arena of civil rights. First, the

chapter concentrates on the rights, freedoms,

disenfranchisement, and subjugation of blacks prior to the

modern civil rights movement. Next, the factors which

collectively led to the movement and its implementation are

explored. Finally, an overview of the major events,


leaders, organizations, and accomplishments of the movement

is presented.

Prelude to a Modern Movement

After gaining freedom from slavery through Presidential

proclamation and national civil war,2 blacks attempted to

participate in American society as free individuals. Blacks

served on juries, participated in state militias, voted,3

and served in the federal and state governments.4 However,

as the former Confederate states and citizens of the South

rejoined the Union and sought the political and economic

power lost through the war, blacks were systematically

denied democratic and civil rights as well as equality with

whites. Instead of being assimilated into American society,

blacks, as during slavery, were once again subjugated by


During Reconstruction, blacks had begun to achieve

political strength. Between 1867 and 1868, qualified black

voters outnumbered qualified white voters 703,400 to 660,000

in the former Confederate states.6 Although blacks only

constituted a minority in state and federal governmental

offices,7 between 1869 and 1876 sixteen blacks served in the

United States Congress,8 On the state level, blacks served


in the legislatures of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana,

Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.9 In

addition, blacks held a variety of other state offices

including Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State

Treasurer, Supreme Court Justice, and Superintendent of


Between the late 1860s and mid-1870s, southerners--

former Confederates--attempted to regain their United States

citizenship and property,11 and southern states rejoined the

union.12 The former Confederate states held conventions,

wrote new constitutions, and established new--

reconstructionist--governments.13 However, usually upon the

readmission of a state, conservatives like the southern

Democratic Party and the Conservative Union Party began

opposing the new state's administration as well as black

involvement in government.14 As new state governments were

established, the conservatives routinely predicted the

governments' failure.15

Using the presumed inferiority and ineptness of blacks

for participation in government as a smoke screen for their

attempt to regain pre-Civil War political and economic power

over blacks, white racist forces, such as the Conservative

Democrats and the Ku Klux Klan, pursued the systematic

disenfranchisement of blacks. The denial of black suffrage

was implemented through manipulation of the voting process

and enforced through economic intimidation and violence. In

addition, the tenets of race separation and racial

inequality flourished.16

In order to regain political power over blacks,

southern whites manipulated the voting process in various

ways. For example, white-only primaries, through which the

Democratic party confined voting to white voters, were

utilized.17 Gerrymandering, through which voting districts

were drawn or re-drawn, was also implemented in order to

minimize the potential of black voting strength.18 In

addition, an eight-ballot-box system was developed through

which eight instead of one ballot boxes were used in an

attempt to confuse illiterate black voters. Through this

system, states such as Florida used different boxes for the

various posts being contested and ballots put in the wrong

boxes were not counted.19

Potential black voters also faced other obstacles. For

example, polling places were moved at the last minute

without the notification of blacks.20 Through literacy

testing, the prospective black voters had to demonstrate

familiarity with their state constitution to white

registration officials who were empowered to pass or fail

applicants--blacks usually failed.21 In addition, a

grandfather clause was utilized through which the right to

vote was only extended to individuals whose grandfathers

possessed the right to vote on January 1, 1867--

predominantly whites.22

In an attempt to regain economic power over blacks,

some southern states enacted Black Codes in an attempt to

restore control and regulation of the black labor force.23

Historian Peter Camejo contended that such codes forced

blacks into "a labor caste, somewhere between chattel slaves

and free but propertyless laborers.""24 In essence, blacks

were placed in a legal form of second-class citizenship.25

The black codes gave white landowners many of the benefits

of slavery. For example, under the Mississippi code, which

was considered severe,26 blacks who were younger than

eighteen years of age and who were orphans or whose parents

could not support them were placed in the service of and

under control of whites--usually their former owner. The

former owner, who could administer corporal punishment, was

allowed to hold females until they reached the age of

eighteen and hold males until they reached the age of

twenty-one.27 In addition, all blacks who were unemployed,

homeless, or found guilty of adultery, drunkenness, or theft

could be placed in the charge of their former master.28


White southerners used various forms of intimidation to

strengthen their post-Reconstruction political and economic

power over blacks. Intimidation ranged from threats of

being fired by white employers to threats of denial of

medical care by white doctors, and included threats of

violence against black voters.29 By far the most severe

form of intimidation was the actual use of violence against

blacks and whites who were sympathetic to blacks.

Whippings, mutilations, burning alive, lynching, drowning,

and what historian John Hope Franklin contended was "any

effective means of violence conceivable"30 awaited blacks

who were insolent or who dared to vote. A similar fate

awaited white supporters.31 Camejo reported that, between

1867 and 1871 approximately 20,000 blacks and white

supporters were murdered in the southern United States.32

As black disenfranchisement--enforced by violence--

flourished, blacks stopped voting in large numbers. Blacks

were also ousted from state and federal governmental

offices.33 Camejo also contended that by the early

twentieth century, "only two percent of the potential black

electorate voted in twelve southern states."34

Rationale for a Modern Movement

For generations, black Americans experienced

frustration and discontent over racial inequality stemming

from slavery, and black disenfranchisement stemming from

counter-Reconstruction. Opposition to such inequality and

disenfranchisement has been present throughout the history

of the United States. It has taken forms such as slave

revolts, the abolitionist movement, the Underground

Railroad, and the return to Africa movement.35 Despite

early opposition, black Americans of the mid-twentieth

century inherited a legacy of life at the bottom of the

socioeconomic ladder.3" In 1963, this legacy prompted the

United States Commission on Civil Rights37 to conclude after

a six-year investigation that "the civil rights of Negro

citizens continue to be widely discarded,"38 and also that

"the descendants of freed slaves still suffer from customs,

traditions, and prejudices that should have died with the

institution in which they flourished."39

Economically, during the 1950s and 1960s many more

black than white Americans lived in poverty.40 In addition,

between 1950 and 1963 the average annual income of blacks

ranged from 52% to 54% of the average annual income of

whites.41 Similarly, between 1964 and 1968 the average


annual income of blacks was only 55.4% of that for whites.42

Also, during the 1950s and 1960s black unemployment ranged

from 7% to 11% compared to 3% to 5% for whites.43 Those

blacks who were employed tended to be concentrated in the

lower-paying menial jobs. For example, 75% of the black men

in the American labor force during this time worked in

unskilled jobs, such as janitors and porters. In addition,

50% of black women in the labor force worked as domestics,

such as maids and cooks.44 According to the Civil Rights

Commission, "the economic plight of the Negro has its roots

in segregation and discrimination,"45 which resulted in

inadequate education, inferior job training, and

discrimination by private employers in the training and

hiring of blacks.46

Politically, the early and mid-twentieth century saw

the continuation of the exclusion of blacks from the

political process through the use of poll taxes, voter

registration testing, violence, and other forms of

intimidation.47 In 1963, the Civil Rights Commission

concluded that the right to vote was not only denied to

blacks for "almost 100 years," but "the right to vote is

still denied" to blacks.48 The Commission also added that in

some areas of the South "virtually all the voting-age whites

have been registered regardless of qualifications, while

Negroes have been systematically rejected."49

The economic and political plight of black Americans in

the early to mid-twentieth century along with the social

oppression of blacks--primarily through segregation--also

added to mounting black frustrations. Social oppression as

a key factor in the education, housing, health care and

military service of blacks enhanced the need and desire for

some sort of relief--namely, a modern movement.50 In terms

of education, blacks of this period had to endure poorly

equipped, segregated schools which were usually housed in

sub-standard buildings. Journalist Harry Ashmore argued

that the general discrimination against blacks in education

stemmed from the inattentiveness of southern school

officials, who were usually white.51 He asserted that such

southern school officials reflected the attitude of the

majority of southern whites who believed that blacks needed

no more than a basic grade school education in order to

assume their proper place in society as laborers and

domestics.52 Consequently, black students were provided

with inferior equipment and facilities and less funding for

education than white students. For example, in the South

between 1940 and 1952 less money was spent per student and

on facilities for black students than for whites. In


addition, black teachers were paid lower salaries than white

teachers, and black schools were provided with smaller

libraries, in terms of space and holdings, than white

schools.53 On the matter of segregated schools, the Civil

Rights Commission found that despite the unconstitutionality

of segregated schools, as determined by the 1954 Supreme

Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education,54 most southern

school boards during the mid-1950s through the early 1960s

were determined to "evade or avoid desegregation."55 The

Commission considered segregated schools a hindrance to the

preparation of "youth to function in a multiracial society

as participating citizens."56

In the matters of housing and health care, the

Commission reported that during the 1950s and early 1960s

the national welfare and security required the realization

of a "decent home or suitable living environment" for all

Americans.57 However, the Commission concluded that blacks

were not able to purchase decent shelter freely because of

high prices and the hesitancy of whites to sell to blacks.58

In addition, the Commission pointed out that black patients

and medical professionals were denied access to or were

segregated in many medical care facilities. They concluded

that such practices adversely affected national health

standards as well as the training of black medical


On the topic of military service, there were relatively

few blacks in the armed forces, especially as officers and

supervisory personnel, during the early to mid-twentieth

century.60 In addition, blacks were excluded from service

in the Marine Corps and the Air Force and were usually

relegated to domestic, unskilled and menial duties in the

Army and Navy.61 After World War I and World War II,

discontent among black military personnel, concerning their

lack of opportunity in the armed forces, grew as they also

pondered the irony of their participation in wars abroad

while they faced racism and segregation at home. Blacks

returning home from the World Wars became determined to work

for equality and opportunity at home and in the military.62

In general, blacks sought desegregation and the same

military training, opportunity, and advancement as whites.63

Likewise, many southern whites were equally determined to

keep blacks in their place as second-class citizens.

Consequently, many blacks who returned home from military

service after the wars came home to race riots and intense

discrimination.64 Historian Thomas Brooks revealed that

some southern cities invested in "anti-riot weaponry in fear

of armed insurrection by organized returning Negro


The combination of economic and political repression

and domination of blacks--enforced by violence and other

forms of intimidation--along with social oppression--through

discrimination and segregation as a factor in the education,

housing, health care, and military service of blacks--served

as a constant and mounting source of frustration and

discontent for blacks. That frustration was eventually

refocused into resistance to repression and oppression.

Likewise, the resistance served as the foundation upon which

the motivation and sacrifice of many people, black and

white, would lead to a mass movement as black Americans

sought a better life and the true enfranchisement which was

alluded to during Reconstruction and then taken away. The

modern civil rights movement would successfully evolve

during the early 1950s and 1960s.

Overview of the Modern Movement

During the 1950s and 1960s, blacks and sympathetic

whites worked to secure the long-denied liberty and full

rights of American citizenship for blacks--civil rights.

starting with the courts, in order to gain legal support and

set precedent, the modern civil rights movement quickly

branched out to include mass nonviolent civil disobedience

through boycotts, marches, sit-ins, and other forms of

demonstration. Such tactics were used in order to

illustrate to the country and the world the lack of and need

for civil rights. They were also used to disrupt the normal

functioning of segregated institutions.66


The black church served as the initial institutional

center of the modern movement, according to civil rights

researcher Aldon Morris. He contended that the black church

provided the movement with "the leadership of clergymen

skilled in the art of managing people and resources, a

financial base, and meeting places."67 This is exemplified

by the fact that both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the

acknowledged leader of the movement,68 and Dr. Ralph David

Abernathy, King's second in command and successor,69 were

both ministers and indeed used their churches as bases of

operations during the initial stages of the movement.70

Black churches also provided blacks with an escape from the

harsh reality associated with oppression by whites. Morris

maintained that black churches were institutions free from

the control of whites, and inside their walls blacks were

"temporarily free to forget oppression."71

In addition to the black church, numerous other

organizations, primarily civil rights organizations,

influenced the momentum, direction, and impact of the modern

civil rights movement. Several civil rights organizations

were highly influential.

NAACP. The National Association for the Advancement of

Colored People was founded in 1909 by a group of blacks and

whites who were opposed to racism. The principal tactics of

the organization were educational persuasion, based on the

idea that whites would treat blacks as equals once whites

overcame their ignorance of blacks; and legal action,

designed to attack segregation and racial inequality via the

court system.72 Brown v. Board of Education and other early

legal victories of the civil rights movement were planned

and fought by NAACP attorneys.73

CORE. The Congress of Racial Equality was founded in

1942 by a group of blacks and whites in order to address

civil rights problems. The organization initially used and

proposed the use of tactics such as sit-ins, hunger strikes,

freedom rides, and mass marches as a means of civil rights


SCLC. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was

founded in 1957 by a group of black southern ministers as a

formal organization of religious leaders to fight for civil

rights. Under the leadership of King, the group's first

President, and Abernathy, King's Vice President, the SCLC

coordinated some of the earliest and most successful

campaigns of the movement, such as Montgomery and

Birmingham.75 Morris asserted that the SCLC developed into

the "organizational center of the movement" and functioned

as an arm of the mass black church.76

SNCC. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

was founded in 1960 by black college students who wanted an

organized, but youthful, outlet for participation in the

fight for civil rights. The initial tactic of the

organization was the utilization of sit-ins as a form of

protest against segregated public facilities. Later, other

forms of protest, such as marches, were advocated by the



The formation and momentum of the modern civil rights

movement was directly influenced by a highly significant

legal battle and victory that was led by the NAACP. With

the Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of

Education, the doctrine of separate-but-equal, previously

the foundation of legalized segregation, was ruled

inherently unequal and unconstitutional in the field of

public education.78 The Brown decision established a legal

precedent upon which the movement would not only test the

implementation of integration in schools, but throughout

American society.

The case, which consolidated four other cases,79 grew

out of the frustrations of black parents who were forced to

send their children to segregated schools that were usually

housed inadequate facilities, and in some states were

located farther away from the black community that white

schools. The NAACP attorneys who handled the cases) argued

that segregated schools imposed social and psychological

handicaps upon black children by inflicting unrealistic

racial isolation upon them. The attorneys asserted that

black children would grow up in a country where whites

composed a large majority of the population. In addition,

the attorneys maintained that segregated schools retarded

the educational and mental development of black children.80

Brown v. Board of Education overturned an 1896 Supreme Court

decision in Plessy v. Ferguson through which the Court had

given legal validity to segregation. The separate-but-equal


doctrine brought about by the Plessy case deemed segregation

constitutional as long as blacks were provided with

accommodations equal to those of whites.81

In 1955, the Little Rock, Arkansas school board began

making plans for school integration in keeping with the

mandate of Brown v. Board of Education. After much

modification, the school board adopted a plan which would

integrate one white high school with a limited number of

black students within a three-year period.82 Shortly

thereafter, white opposition, supported by Arkansas Governor

Orval Faubus, threatened to forestall implementation of the

plan.83 Consequently, a federal court order secured by the

NAACP admonished the school board to implement the plan.

The board next screened black students for potential

enrollment. Eventually, nine students, "The Little Rock

Nine," were selected.84 However, prior to the actual

enrollment of the black students, Governor Faubus, who was

against school integration, ordered the Arkansas National

Guard to surround central high school.85 As a result, when

the nine black students attempted to attend school on

September 4, 1957, National Guardsmen prevented them from


By September 14, 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower

informed Governor Faubus that Supreme Court orders had to be


obeyed. Eisenhower also noted that the use of the National

Guard should have been as protection for the black students

rather than a hindrance to their enrollment.87

Subsequently, Faubus recalled the National Guard. Later,

when mobs of segregationists surrounded the school to

prevent the attendance of the black students, the mayor of

Little Rock requested and received the assistance of federal

military troops.88

With United States Army troops surrounding the school,

the Little Rock Nine finally attended class at Central High

School. Army bodyguards escorted each of the black students

to and from school and classes each day for several weeks,

until order prevailed. The underlying theme of the Little

Rock crisis--the conflict between state and federal

government over the protection of civil rights--would recur

in the struggle for civil rights.89

In 1953, blacks in Baton Rouge, Louisiana boycotted

their local bus system in order to protest segregated

seating. The week-long boycott did not bring an end to

local segregated seating on buses.90 However, in 1955, the

first major and successful mass action of the modern civil

rights movement occurred when blacks in Montgomery, Alabama

successfully conducted a thirteen-month boycott of their

local bus company. The boycott resulted in integrated

seating on buses. As was the case throughout the South,

blacks in Montgomery were required to ride in the back of

local buses. Blacks also gave up their seats to whites as

larger numbers of whites filled the front section and moved

toward the rear. When a black woman, Mrs. Rosa Parks, was

arrested for refusing to surrender her bus seat to a white

passenger, the black community in Montgomery quickly

mobilized, not only to support Mrs. Parks, but also to

protest the unfairness and inequality of segregation. Under

the leadership of King and Abernathy, and despite violence

and intimidation by whites, blacks walked, car pooled, and

sought legal remedy, until success--an integrated bus line--
was won.91

With the coming of the 1960s, the momentum of the new

movement spread and was intensified by the support and

participation of black, and later white, college students.

A major tactic employed by college students was the use of

sit-ins as a protest against segregated public facilities.

The first such sit-in of the movement occurred during

February of 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina. At that

time, four black students92 from North Carolina Agricultural

and Technical State University visited the local F.W.

Woolworth department store where they sat down at the

store's white-only lunch counter and attempted to place


orders."3 Although the students were refused service, word

of their action spread across the South and stimulated

action by other college students not only at stores, but at

libraries, hotels, and beaches as well.94

The 1960s also witnessed the reintroduction of a

protest tactic originally used by CORE. In 1947, an

interracial group of CORE members attempted to ride public

bus lines throughout the upper South in an attempt to

confront and resist segregated seating of interstate bus

passengers. The ride came to an end when the CORE members

were arrested in North Carolina for violating segregation

laws.95 However, the ride later aided the modern movement

by serving as a model for a new series of rides--the freedom

rides--in 1961.

The 1961 freedom rides planned by CORE were designed to

once again confront segregation in interstate

transportation. The plan called for two interracial bus

loads of CORE members to leave Washington, D.C. and travel

throughout the South. During the rides, white members were

to sit in the back of the buses and black members were to

sit in the front. In addition, at each stop blacks would

attempt to use white-only facilities--waiting rooms, rest

rooms, lunch counters, and water fountains.96

As in 1947, the 1961 riders ran into difficulty. One

bus was burned by a white mob in Anniston, Alabama, while

the riders of the second bus were beaten by white mobs in

Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama. Finally, under Alabama

National Guard Protection, the freedom riders travelled from

Montgomery to Jackson, Mississippi, only to be tried and

imprisoned on their arrival. Despite the brutality

inflicted upon the freedom riders, more than 300 additional

riders followed in the footsteps of the initial riders

throughout the summer of 1961.97

In April of 1963, veteran civil rights workers and the

SCLC once again took the center stage for one of the most

violent episodes of the movement. After the city of

Birmingham, Alabama closed its municipal parks, playgrounds,

swimming pools, and golf courses rather than comply with a

court order to integrate them, the city was targeted by King

and the SCLC for protest action.98 The SCLC Project "C" for

confrontation set out to demonstrate against segregated

businesses and lunch counters in addition to seeking the

reopening of the closed public recreational facilities.99

Hundreds of arrests resulted from the demonstrations

including those of King and Abernathy.100 Upon the release

of King and Abernathy from jail, they launched a "children's

Crusade," which called for black school children to conduct

marches in downtown Birmingham. King, Abernathy, and the

SCLC believed school children could not be intimidated

economically, as could their parents, and also that there

was less of a chance for police brutality against children

as compared to adults. According to Abernathy, "We were

certain that even the most mean spirited cop would refrain

from clubbing a very small child."101 However, Birmingham

Public Safety Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor ordered the

use of high-pressure fire hoses and police dogs against the

young demonstrators after attempts to jail large numbers102

of marchers did not quell the protest. As outraged black

adults joined the demonstrations, the toll of arrests went

to over two thousand people.103

With racial tensions continuing to mount and national

and international attention focused on the city, white

businessmen and city officials decided, within five weeks of

the start of Project "C," to work out a desegregation plan

with the SCLC. The plan provided for the integration of

facilities--lunch counters, rest rooms, fitting rooms, water

fountains--and the hiring of black sales personnel.104

Shortly after the settlement was reached, National Guard and

U.S. Army troops were dispatched to Birmingham by President

John F. Kennedy, following President Eisenhower's example in

Little Rock, to quiet racial violence related to the bombing

of several black homes and businesses.105 Kennedy did not

want the agreement between the SCLC and the white

businessmen to be ruined by violent racism.106

Fresh from and in part prompted by the violence of

Birmingham, as well as the overall plight of black

Americans, the stage was set for the movement's largest

single outpouring of popular support. That support was

demonstrated in August of 1963 when 250,000 people, black

and white, from all over the country converged on

Washington, D.C. to attend a mass rally designed to protest

racism, segregation, and racial inequality. The March on

Washington was also designed to show support for a civil

rights act which would provide for the fair treatment, equal

opportunity, and equal access to public facilities for


An earlier attempt at a march on Washington, planned by

CORE in 1941, was not implemented. However, the CORE idea

was successfully carried out during the 1963 march as the

mass audience was presented with speeches, prayers, and

music that stressed to the country and its leaders the need

for equality and civil rights.108 The day was highlighted

by Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech in which

King projected an America full of opportunity and free of

hatred, racism, and injustice.109 By July 2, 1964,

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of

1964, which outlawed segregation in public accommodations.

The year 1964 ended triumphantly for the movement with the

December awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to its leader.

King was awarded the prize for his advocacy and use of

nonviolent protest as a means of securing civil rights for


The movement next focused on the need for specific

legislation designed to provide for the registration and

protection of black voters. In 1963, blacks made up half of

the voting population in Selma, Alabama. However, only one

percent of voting age blacks were registered to vote.

Selma's white voting officials made it difficult for blacks

to register. Blacks were intimidated and the operation of

the voter registration office was limited to two days per

month.111 Based on such conditions, SNCC members began an

attempt to help blacks in Selma register to vote. By 1964,

the SCLC was also drawn to Selma and targeted the city for

demonstrations in the form of marches to the local court

house on the days during which attempts at registration were


At this juncture, King and the SCLC sought to

illustrate to the nation the intimidation and violence

encountered by blacks when attempting to register to vote.


In so doing, they also sought to put pressure on the federal

government for voting rights legislation that provided for

federal voting registrars.113 According to Abernathy, "we

wanted a voting bill and we knew that we would never get one

unless the American people saw what was going on in places

like Selma."114

With the initiation of the SCLC's 1965 Selma

demonstrations, protesters were soon brutalized by local and

state law enforcement officers. On one such occasion, a

protester, Jimmie Lee Jackson, was shot by an Alabama state

trooper. Jackson died within a week.115 As a result of

Jackson's death, the SCLC decided to broaden the Selma

protest strategy by staging a mass march--the "Alabama

Freedom March"--to Montgomery and presented Alabama Governor

George Wallace, who opposed the march, with a petition

demanding civil rights in Alabama.116 When six hundred

people attempted to march on Sunday, March 7, 1965, they

were met by numerous state troopers who use tear gas and

billy clubs, while atop charging horses, to disperse the

marchers. So many marchers were charged and beaten that the

day of the march was dubbed "Bloody Sunday."117

Three days later, after word of Bloody Sunday shocked the

nation, over 1,500 more potential marchers gathered in Selma

to stage a second attempt. However, the second march also

proved unsuccessful when King, who was leading the march,

was confronted by state troopers and consequently led the

marchers back to their starting point. Later, the SCLC

received court approval for a third march attempt. At that

time, President Johnson ordered the use of U.S. Army troops

--as did Presidents Kennedy in Birmingham and Eisenhower in

Little Rock--as well as FBI agents, United States Marshals,

and federalized Alabama National Guard units to protect the

marchers. The number of marchers eventually swelled to

25,000 before the march reached Montgomery.

Upon their arrival in Montgomery, King and other civil

rights movement leaders addressed a large crowd of

supporters from the steps of the state capitol.

Simultaneously, SCLC members unsuccessfully attempted to

deliver the petitions to Governor Wallace.118 By August 6,

1965, President Johnson signed a voting rights bill after

earlier condemning what happened in Selma as an "American

Tragedy"119 and echoing, by way of a nationally televised

address, the slogan of the movement, "We Shall Overcome."120

Along with the successful bid for a voting rights act,

the mid- and late 1960s also witnessed the doctrine of

nonviolent protest--which had been advocated by King, other

movement leaders, and major civil rights organizations--come

under attack and eventually decline. During this time,

newer, younger, and more militant black leaders--Stokely

Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Huey Newton, and Eldridge Clever--

began to advocate violent resistance to racism.

Consequently, redress of racial inequality moved beyond

court battles, marches, sit-ins, and other forms of peaceful

protest, and toward militancy. With the 1965 race riots in

Watts (Los Angeles, California) and Harlem (New York, New

York) came a volatile combination of black frustrations and

militancy that served to alienate some sympathetic whites

and moderate blacks. In the process, militancy had a

negative effect on the course, support, and intensity of the

movement as a mass action.121


From slavery through the modern civil rights movement,

countless numbers of blacks and whites were killed while

attempting to secure freedom and equality for blacks. The

civil rights movement incurred many casualties122 including,

but not limited to, several well-publicized murders. For

example, Medgar Evers, a NAACP Mississippi field

representative, was shot to death in 1963.123 Similarly,

SNCC student voter registration volunteers Andrew Goodman,

Michael Schwerner,--both white--and James Chaney were beaten

and shot to death in 1964 while working in Mississippi.124

In addition, Jimmy Lee Jackson, a civil rights demonstrator

was shot--and later died--by an Alabama state trooper while

protesting in 1965.125 James Reeb, a white minister, was

beaten--and subsequently died--in 1965, by a mob while in

Alabama to march with the SCLC.126 Viola Liuzzo, a white

SCLC volunteer, was shot and killed while driving SCLC

freedom marchers in 1965.127

One of the most devastating murders, in terms of the

direction of the movement, occurred in March of 1968. While

in Memphis, Tennessee to support a garbage workers' strike

and coordinate SCLC strategy, King was shot and killed.128

His death brought an end to the strong central leadership of

the modern movement as well as an end to an era of mass,

nonviolent, highly organized protests as a means of striving

for civil rights.129

The active life of the modern, nonviolent, civil rights

movement, as well as the deaths of some of its workers and

its leader were not in vain. During the course of the

movement, from 1954 to 1968, many victories were won,

including: the national exposure and condemnation of violent

racism, the overturning of legalized segregation, the

enactment of substantial federal legislation pertaining to

civil rights (see Chapter 7), and the validation of

nonviolent movement methods through the awarding of the

Nobel Peace Prize to its leader, King.130 In essence, the

movement provided an outlet for the venting of frustrations

stemming from disenfranchisement, racism, and segregation,

and helped blacks realize some of the hope and dreams that

were first alluded to during Reconstruction. In addition,

the civil rights movement provided the press, as a whole,

and specific journalistic civil rights advocates--such as

Golden--with a wealth of news on which to report or comment.

The interaction between the press and the civil rights

movement is discussed in the following chapter.


'Harry Golden, The Right Time: An Autobiography, by
Harry Golden (New York: Putnam, 1969) 237, 239, 242.

2Avery Craven, Reconstruction: The Ending of the Civil
War (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1969) 1-14.

3According to historian W.E.B. Dubois, some free blacks
who owned land and property had the right to vote at earlier
periods in American history. However, in most cases such
black suffrage was taken away by state governments. Dubois
noted that, prior to Reconstruction, black suffrage was
taken away in the following states at the following times:
South Carolina, 1716; Virginia, 1722; North Carolina, 1734;
Georgia, 1761; Delaware, 1790s; Maryland, 1790s; Tennessee,
1796; Kentucky, 1799; Ohio, 1803; New Jersey, 1807;
Louisiana, 1812; Connecticut, 1814; Indiana, 1816;
Mississippi, 1817; Illinois, 1818; Alabama, 1819; New York,
1821; Missouri, 1821; Arkansas, 1836; Michigan, 1837;
Pennsylvania, 1838; Texas, 1845; Florida, 1845; Iowa, 1846;

Wisconsin, 1848; Minnesota, 1858; and Kansas, 1861. See
Dubois Black Reconstruction in America (New York: Russell
and Russell, 1935) 6-8.

4Peter Camejo, Racism, Revolution, and Reaction, 1861-
1877 (New York: Monad, 1976) 241; Thomas Brooks, Walls Come
Tumbling Down: A History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1940-
1970 (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1974) 14.

5Camejo 246.

6John Hope Franklin, Reconstruction After the Civil War
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961) 80.

7LaWanda Cox, and John Cox, eds. Reconstruction the
Negro, and the New South (Columbia: University of South
Carolina Press, 1973) xxiii.

8Dubois 627; Franklin, 135; According to Dubois and
Franklin, sixteen blacks served in the Federal Congress
during this time, including: Hiram R. Revels, a Senator from
Mississippi, 1870-1871; Blanche K. Bruce, a Senator from
Mississippi, 1875-1881; Jefferson P. Long, a Congressman
from Georgia, 1869-1870; Joseph H. Rainey, a Congressman
from South Carolina, 1871-1879; Robert C. DeLarge, a
Congressman from South Carolina, 1871-1873; Robert B.
Elliott, a Congressman from South Carolina, 1871-1875;
Benjamin S. Turner, a Congressman from Alabama, 1871-1873;
Josiah T. Walls, a Congressman from Florida, 1873-1877;
Alonzo J. Ransier, a Congressman from South Carolina, 1871-
1873; James T. Rapier, a Congressman from Alabama, 1873-
1875; Richard H. Cain, a Congressman from South Carolina,
1873-1875, 1877-1879; John R. Lynch, a Congressman from
Mississippi, 1873-1877, 1881-1883; Charles E. Nash, a
Congressman from Louisiana, 1875-1877; John A. Hyman, a
Congressman from North Carolina, 1875-1877; Jere Haralson, a
Congressman from Alabama, 1875-1877; and Robert Smalls, a
Congressman from South Carolina, 1875-1879, 1881-1887.

9Franklin 132-134.

1oFranklin 133-135.

"Craven 111.

'2Franklin 80.

13Franklin 120.

14Franklin 130.

15Franklin 129.

16Camejo 151; Dubois 694.

17Dubois 694.

18Camejo 197.

19Camejo 197.

20Camejo 197.

21Camejo 198.

22Dubois 694; Camejo 198.

23Craven 119.

24Camejo 145.

25Cox xiii.

26Cox xiv.

27Craven 120-121.

28Craven 120-121.

29Camejo 153.

30Franklin 155.

31Franklin 157, 160; Camejo 145, 187.

32Camejo 146.

33Camejo 166; Franklin 130-131, 172.

34Camejo 199.

35Morris x; Brooks 8; For example, according to Lauren
Kessler, Marcus Garvey preached black nationalism and the
idea of returning to Africa. Garvey maintained that only by
returning to their ancestral home could blacks ever achieve
equality and live in social harmony, see Kessler 42.

36Carolyn Martindale, The White Press and Black America
(New York: Greenwood, 1986) 4.

37The Civil Rights Commission was established by
Congress to investigate the denial of civil rights to U.S.
citizens and suggest appropriate action to Congress.

38United States, Commission on Civil Rights, Civil
Rights '63 (Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing
Office, 1963) 1.

39U.S. Commission 2.

40Martindale 5.

41For example, according to Juan Williams, in 1963 the
national average annual income was $6,500 while only $3,500
for blacks; See Williams Eyes on the Prize (New York:
Penguin, 1988) 197; In addition, Martindale reported that
black average annual income had only risen to 61% of white
income by 1969, see Martindale 5.

42Harrell Rodgers, Jr. "Civil Rights and the Myth of
Popular Sovereignty,: Journal of Black Studies 12.1 (1981):

43Williams 197; Brooks 87; Aldon Morris, The Origins of
the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for
Change (New York: Macmillan, 1984) 1; Martindale 5.

4Morris 1; U.S. Commission 73.

45U.S. Commission 91.

46U.S. Commission 90.

47Morris 2; U.S. Commission 22-23.

8U.S. Commission 13.

49U.S. Commission 22.

50U.S. Commission 53, 95, 129, 171.

"Harry Ashmore, The Negro and the Schools (Chapel
Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1954) 125.

52Ashmore 130.

53Ashmore 62-63.

54Oliver Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas,
74 S.Ct. 686 and 347 U.S. 483, 1954.

55U.S. Commission 68.

56U.S. Commission 68.

57U.S. Commission 96.

58U.S. Commission 95.

59U.S. Commission 129.

6oAccording to Thomas Brooks, by 1940 there were 5,000
blacks in the 269,023-man Army and 4,000 blacks in the
160,997-man Navy; See Brooks 9.

"Brooks 9; U.S. Commission 171, 214.

62Brooks 52, 69.

63Brooks 10.

64Lauren Kessler, The Dissident Press (Beverly Hills:
Sage, 1984) 42.

65Brooks 55.

66Brooks 50-51; Morris xi.

67Morris 4.

s6Williams 289.

69Williams 289; Ralph David Abernathy, And the Walls
Came Tumbling Down (New York: Harper and Row, 1989) xii.

70Abernathy 136-188.

7"Morris 4.

72Brooks 16, 19; Morris 12-14.

"Williams 3-35.

74Williams 125, 127; Brooks 50-51.

75Williams 89; Abernathy 148, 186.

76Morris xiii.

7Williams 137; Morris xiii.

78Brown v. Board 74 S.Ct. 686; Brooks 94; Williams 3-

7The other cases were: Briggs v. Elliot from South
Carolina, 342 U.S. 350, 72 S.Ct. 327; Davis v. County School
Board from Virginia, 103 Fed. Supp. 337; Belton v. Gebhart
from Delaware, 344 U.S. 891; and Boiling v. Sharpe from
Washington, D.C., 347 U.S. 497, 74 S.Ct. 693; See Brown v.
Board 74 S.Ct. 686; Williams 27, 31; Brooks 93.

soBrooks 93; Williams 24.

s"The black plaintiff, Homer Plessy, sat in the "whites
only" passenger car while travelling by train. When he was
ordered to leave the car, he refused to move. Consequently,
Plessy was removed from the train by police and arrested.
As a result, he sued the railroad, arguing that segregated
public facilities were illegal; See Plessy v. Ferguson, 16

S.Ct. 1138 and 163 U.S. 537, 1896; Brooks 88-89; Williams 9-

82Williams 92-93.

83Williams 95.

8Williams 96-97.

"Williams 99-100.

8Williams 102.

87Williams 103.

8Williams 106-107.

9Williams 112.

90Although the boycott disrupted the operation of the
bus company for a week, black leaders accepted an offer from
white bus and city officials. The offer stipulated fewer
front seats (three) reserved for whites and all remaining
seats filled on a first come first served basis with whites
loading and sitting front to back and blacks loading and
sitting back to front; See Morris 18-19, 24-25; Williams 60.

"Howell Raines, My Soul is Rested: Movement Days in
the Deep South Remembered (New York: Putnam, 1977) 40;
Brooks 94; Abernathy 133-136, 159, 160-161; Williams 61, 66-
67, 88-89.

92The four students were: David Richmond, Franklin
McCain, Ezell Blair, and Joseph McNeil; See Williams 128.

93U.S. Commission 107, 108; Raines 618.

94Williams 127-129.

9Brooks 62, 64; Williams 144-145, 147.

9Williams 147-149; Raines 122.

97Williams 147-149, 151, 153-155, 157-159; Raines 122.

98Williams 179, 181.

"Abernathy 241, 243; Raines 154; Williams 182, 193.

0IoAbernathy 250; Raines 154.

'o1Abernathy 262.

102According to Juan Williams, Connor had school buses
brought in which transported 959 children to jail; See
Williams 190.

'03"Dogs and Hoses Used to Stall Negro Trek at
Birmingham" Atlanta Constitution 4 May 1963, 1.

104Abernathy 268-269; Williams 193.

105Abernathy 270; "Troops are Sent to Alabama Bases in
Wake of Birmingham Rioting" Atlanta Constitution 13 May
1963, 1.

106Williams 194.

107Brooks 21, 26-28; Williams 197-199; According to
Williams, of the 250,000 participants in the March, at least
60,000 were white.

108Brooks 31; Williams 197-199.

109Abernathy 280-281.

110David Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King,
Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (New
York: Random House, 1988) 337-338, 354-355.

111Williams 252.

112Williams 255, 258.

113Abernathy 298; Williams 255.

114Abernathy 297-298.

11sWilliams 265.

116Abernathy 350; Williams 267.

117Williams 273; Garrow 394-400; Abernathy 330-344.

"8Abernathy 354, 359; Raines 216; Williams 282.

119Williams 278.

120I.F. Stone, "The Ultimate Stakes in the Voting
Rights Struggle,: I.F. Stone's Weekly 22 March 1965, 1;
Williams 278.

121Abernathy 497; Brooks 259; Kenneth O'Reilly, Racial
Matters : The FBI's Secret File on Black America, 1960-1972
(New York: Macmillan, 1989) 293; Williams 287.

122According to Ebony magazine, between 1957 and 1968
at least 40 black and white people, and countless unknown
people, were killed in violence related to the civil rights
struggle. In addition to the heretofore mentioned well-
publicized deaths, they list lesser-known killings. See
"Remembering the Martyrs of the Movement," Ebony Feb. 1990:
58, 60, 62.

'23Abernathy 614; Williams 221.

124Abernathy 614; Williams 234-235.

125Abernathy 360, 614.

126Abernathy 360, 614.

127Abernathy 360, 614.

128Abernathy 416, 440-441; Williams 289.

'29Taylor Branch, Parting the Water: America in the
King Years, 1954-1963 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988)
297, 922; Garrow 623-624.


130Abernathy 385, 358; Branch 21, 124-125; Garrow 15,
59, 287, 337, 599; Williams 29-35, 198, 282; Joseph Alvarez,
From Reconstruction to revolution: The Black's Struggle for
Equality (New York: Atheneum, 1971) 103.


This chapter examines the interaction between various

segments of the press and the civil rights movement. It

discusses press coverage and advocacy of the movement and

the movement's need and use of press coverage. The chapter

has two sections. The first section concentrates on the

transition of the civil right movement from primarily a

black press story to one covered by the national press. The

second section concentrates on four of Harry Golden's

journalistic contemporaries who also advocated civil rights.

Journalistic Transitions

The Southern White Press

Many communications researchers and journalists who

covered the civil rights movement have reported that most

southern white-owned newspapers routinely portrayed blacks

in a demeaning light during the early to mid-twentieth

century. The southern white press was described as having


ignored all but the most sensational and negative news from

the black community.1 Broadcaster Joseph Brechner argued

that white press coverage of blacks constituted a "boycott

or censorship of positive, favorable news."2 Researcher

Lauren Kessler contended that when the white press did

include news of blacks, it portrayed them as "clowns or


Such practices were carried over to the early 1950s and

the initial phases of the modern civil rights movement as

the southern white press either ignored, downplayed, or

reflected a negative perspective on desegregation efforts.4

In addition, researcher Carol Martindale argued that the

little attention paid to blacks reinforced negative racial

stereotypes. Martindale maintained that blacks were

consistently portrayed as criminals, and news about crimes

committed by blacks was often given more coverage than

crimes committed by whites. She asserted that among

southern white newspapers it was a long-standing practice to

run all accusations of sex crimes committed by blacks on

page one of the paper even if the paper had to report

stories from other cities.5

Several white reporters who covered the movement for

large southern and northern white newspapers also suggested

that the southern white press presented negative coverage of

blacks and the movement. In the opinion of William Shipp,

formerly of the Atlanta Constitution, "Some southern

reporters bent over backward to try and show the warts in

the civil rights movement."6 Similarly, Claude Sitton,

formerly of the New York Times, asserted, "During the 1950s,

there were [southern] racist columnists that made fun of the

desegregation effort."7 Despite the poor treatment of

blacks and the movement by the southern white press, former

Jackson State Times reporter Charles Dunagan revealed "A lot

of us realized, deep down, that blacks were being

mistreated" by the white press.8 However, New York Times

reporter Ted Poston noted that many southern white reporters

"cynically defended myths they knew to be untrue--white

superiority and Negro indolence."9 In addition, Alabama

Times publisher Buford Boone contended that some southern

white publishers downplayed news of blacks and the movement

because to do otherwise would have been bad for business.

In essence, according to Boone, "They [southern editors and

publishers] let their obligation to their profession play

second fiddle to their chamber of commerce membership."10

The Black Press

With such negative news coverage of the movement by the

southern white press, the black press had to lead the way in

aggressive factual civil rights press coverage. However,

the black press was familiar with providing news coverage

and advocacy for black-related topics that were shunned or

distorted by the southern white press. From its beginning

with Freedom's Journal in 1827, the black press established

a tradition of giving blacks a voice to counter attacks by

the white press, and also of campaigning for racial

equality.11 Historian Henry Lewis Suggs argued that,

"American patterns of discrimination, separation, and

exclusion spawned the black press."12 Similarly, Kessler

indicated that the black press began as a reaction to the

denial of access to the conventional white press. She also

pointed out that not only did black editors inform, inspire,

and unify their readers, they exhorted their readers to act

and told them how to do so.13

With the collapse of Reconstruction accompanied by

deteriorating race relations, black disenfranchisement, and

the increased use of violence against blacks, black

newspaper editors of the late nineteenth century protested

the numerous lynchings of blacks.14 The editors also


expressed bitterness, indignation, despair, and bewilderment

at black disenfranchisement.15 During the early to mid-

twentieth century, the black press continued to condemn

violent racism and disenfranchisement while also calling for

an end to racial discrimination and segregation in the

military and in public schools.16

In keeping with the tradition of coverage and advocacy

of black topics and issues, the black press provided the

initial coverage and documentation of the modern civil

rights movement.17 In the view of NAACP press secretary

Henry Moon, the black press not only recorded, but served as

the voice of the movement by demanding recognition of blacks

as human beings and American citizens.18 Norfolk Journal

and Guide publisher Thomas Young noted that the black press

was a "protest press" that "sparked and nurtured the

struggle for civil rights."19 For example, black newspapers

encouraged and promoted the work of organizations such as

CORE and SCLC, stressed racial unity, and advocated

integration.20 Ethel Payne, a black reporter who covered

the movement for the Chicago Defender, a black paper,

contended, "The black press flourished during the movement

because it served an anti-racism need that was not met by

the white press of the time."21 Likewise, Lawrence Still, a

black reporter who covered the movement for Ebony and Jet


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