This is an exercise in empathy with that highly articulate group of white Southerners, mostly writers, who were strongly committed to justice for Negroes and who appealed for support—it was not forthcoming—from what they believed was a reservoir of racial liberalism among their fellow Southerners. It is also a sad record of futility, because the improvement in the status of blacks in the South came as the result of militant movements by blacks and Northern whites, the assertion of political power by blacks nationwide, and by action in Washington—all resented or objected to by most of the Southern liberals.
The conception of a “Silent South” was first posited in 1885 by George Washington Cable, who was convinced t...
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