The Shadows of Youth

Andrew Lewis touched a very serious theme about the events of the 1950-1960s years. He showed the process of fight for the civil rights from the side of each hero. In the book “The Shadows of Youth: The Remarkable Journey of the Civil Rights Generation” there can be seen different feelings, characters, emotions of each person. The reader can feel the same passion or sadness, rage and inspiration.

Like the first revolution, the pitched-battle civil-rights struggle of the 1960s was a long time in coming. The author opens with the arrival of motherly organizer Ella Baker, a forgotten hero of the fight, to Nashville, Tenn., in April 1960. There, men and women such as Charles McDew, Diane Nash and Marion Barry—who would later become mayor of Washington, D.C.—were gathering to initiate a series of lunch-counter sit-ins to protest segregation and the Jim Crow laws that enforced it (Kirkus, 2009).

As Lewis’s subjects remind us often within the pages of this book, it is only in hindsight that we see the passion-fueled strategies behind the improbable but significant progress made by the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee and other grass-roots organizations. As an example: Years of negotiation, lobbying, and business-as-usual politics had resulted in negligible improvements in civil rights. One of the biggest steps toward equal rights occurred when Diane Nash, a Fisk student, impulsively pushed Nashville’s mayor, Ben West, to declare publicly that he thought lunch counters should be desegregated (Adams, 2009).

For a better understanding of the book, we should look through the pages of history.

The beginning of the movement of African Americans for civil rights unfolded before the abolition of slavery, but the main development of the struggle against racism and misunderstanding started with 50 years of XX century. It began after the Second World War (Wilson, 1984).The war in the minds of Americans as white and black pushed the racial differences in the background. American forces rallied against the global threat of fascism. In this context, racial prejudices are often not just fade into the background, or are simply washed away.

Therefore, as Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender, and American veterans returned to a normal life there something again broke out, with the same force racial problems. Segregation was confirmed by state laws.

Cauldron of contradictions heated black discontent of the masses and the white people to empathize racism oppressed Americans continued to warm up, and the temperature was already close to a boil. At this time the generation grew up discontented blacks suffer tired and ready for action. They had not all been formed, one was illiterate, others have had a degree, but they share one desire. This desire was to achieve equal rights with the white man. Of course, some of them have chosen to separatism and nationalism, and opposed his people the white population, forgetting that they live in the same country, but most had to fight against the whites, and for equality.

Students had been one of the most politically active social groups in the United States. …
Posted by: Lorretta Mansell

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