Go South to Sorrow

Go South to Sorrow


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Mr. Rowan reviews the Till case, the Montgomery bus boycott, and

the Autherine Lucy incident on the campus of the University of Alabama.

He fires several solid broadsides at Senator Eastland.



 Go South to Sorrow

By Carl T. Rowan

Reviewed by John J. O’Connor


Carl Rowan is a prize-winning journalist on the staff of the Minneapolis Tribune. He returned to his native South to find out what had happened since the 1954 Supreme Court ruling on racial integration in the nation’s public schools.

He discovered that the NAACP was trying to advance the emancipation of Negroes by law suits whereas the KKK and the White Citizens Councils were equally determined to preserve white supremacy. Communication had largely broken down between representatives of the two races.

The South was caught in a web of fear, lawlessness, confusion and insecurity. Demagogues worked overtime to convince worried people that those who spoke out for an end to racial segregation in America were engaged in a Communist scheme to destroy “the Anglo-Saxon race.”

Mr. Rowan reviews the Till case, the Montgomery bus boycott, and the Autherine Lucy incident on the campus of the University of Alabama. He fires several solid broadsides at Senator Eastland. But the men who really disturb him are the so-called “moderates,” those who favor what Mr. Rowan regards as a gutless do-nothingness. Defiant men today have the initiative and Mr. Rowan believes that they will continue in defiance until the authorities responsible for law and order take back the initiative.

Mr. Rowan is in error if he believes that moderation necessarily means do-nothingness. He fails either to recognize or to give credit to the persevering efforts of many religiously motivated people and institutions. In many quiet but effective ways they are preparing the way for a new era in race relations.

Any delay, of course, has tragic consequences for the present generation of Negroes who are being shamefully deprived of their human rights. But any all-out frontal attack on segregation today would have even worse consequences.

Source: Books on Trial (June-July, 1957)


Carl Rowan

(August 11, 1925 — September 23, 2001)


1925 (11 August) — Born in Ravencroft, Tennessee, a dying coal mining town.

1942 — Graduated from Bernard High as valedictorian and president of a class of 13 students. enrolled at Tennessee A&I, now Tennessee State University.

1943 — Navy sends Rowan to Northwestern University for summer training as a naval reserve officer. When the university refused him residence because of his color, the navy transferred him to Oberlin.

1944 — Passed a competitive exam to become one of the first Blacks in Naval officer training.

1947 — Graduated from Oberlin, a mathematics major

1948 — Earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota and joined the Minneapolis Tribune as a copywriter (until 1950).

1950-1961 — Staff writer for Minneapolis Tribune, ), reporting extensively on civil rights movement.

1953South of Freedom published.

1956 The Pitiful and the Proud published.

1957Go South to Sorrow published.

1960Wait Till Next Year: The Life Story of Jackie Robinson published.

1961 — Joined Kennedy administration. working as deputy assistant secretary of state for public affairs.

1963-1964 — Served as U.S. ambassador to Finland.

1964-1965 — Director of the United States Information Agency.

1967-1996 — Appeared as panelist on public affairs television show Inside Washington.

1974 — Just Between Us Blacks published.

1987 —  Founded Project Excellence, which has awarded over $39.5 million in scholarships to college-bound black students from the Washington, D.C., area, many of whom have gone on to graduate from Oberlin College.

1991 — Breaking Barriers: A Memoir published.

1993Dream Makers, Dream Breakers: The World of Justice Thurgood Marshall

1997 — Awarded Alumni Medal  by Oberlin College Alumni Association commencement weekend.

2000 (23 September) — Died this morning of natural causes in the Intensive Care Unit of Washington Hospital Center.

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



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#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”

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The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems

By Robert Hass

The Apple Trees at Olema includes work from Robert Hass’s first five books—Field Guide, Praise, Human Wishes, Sun Under Wood, and Time and Materials—as well as a substantial gathering of new poems, including a suite of elegies, a series of poems in the form of notebook musings on the nature of storytelling, a suite of summer lyrics, and two experiments in pure narrative that meditate on personal relations in a violent world and read like small, luminous novellas. From the beginning, his poems have seemed entirely his own: a complex hybrid of the lyric line, with an unwavering fidelity to human and nonhuman nature, and formal variety and surprise, and a syntax capable of thinking through difficult things in ways that are both perfectly ordinary and really unusual. Over the years, he has added to these qualities a range and a formal restlessness that seem to come from a skeptical turn of mind, an acute sense of the artifice of the poem and of the complexity of the world of lived experience that a poem tries to apprehend. Hass’s work is grounded in the beauty of the physical world. His familiar landscapes—San Francisco, the northern California coast, the Sierra high country—are vividly alive in his work. His themes include art, the natural world, desire, family life, the life between lovers, the violence of history, and the power and inherent limitations of language. He is a poet who is trying to say, as fully as he can, what it is like to be alive in his place and time.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 14 December 2011




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