Black and White: Reflections of a White Southern Sociologist by Lewis M. Killian (review)

Black and White: Reflections of a White Southern Sociologist by Lewis M. Killian (General Hall, Inc., 1994)

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Black and White: Reflections of a White Southern Sociologist by Lewis M. Killian (review)

by Leslie Dunbar
Southern Cultures, Vol. 1, No. 3: Spring 1995

General Hall, Inc., 1994

Autobiographical writing must require some degree of boldness. Politicians and generals and other “stars” of our firmament have that, usually in abundance. More modest human beings have to make a case for claiming other people’s attention. Lewis Killian does. He does by giving us several ways of reading this, his latest of a notable series of books: as tour de force, telling of our modern race struggle by weaving it through the chapters of KiIlian’s own life and work; as critique of sociology; as evaluation of the potential of the social scientist as an agent of social reform; as portrait of a liberal and his perhaps prototypical journey through the second half of our century. The subtitle is to be taken literally: he is reflecting—looking back and rethinking—he is white, he is (despite many years of teaching in New England) determinedly and insistently southern, and he is a sociologist.