The “Golden” Era of Civil Rights: Consequences of The Carolina Israelite

Harry Golden (right) at Connemara Farm, Flat Rock, North Carolina, home of close friend poet Carl Sandburg (left), courtesy of the Harry Golden Papers, Part One, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Library.

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The “Golden” Era of Civil Rights: Consequences of The Carolina Israelite

by Stephen J. Whitfield
Southern Cultures, Vol. 14, No. 3: Civil Rights

"The Carolina Israelite was a remarkable solo act, a bold effort to liberate its southern white readers from the inertia of tradition, defying the odds that anyone producing a one-man newspaper in the mid-twentieth century was very likely to be a crank."

The year 1960 was an auspicious one in southern history. Four black students demanded service at a Woolworth’s counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, thus inaugurating the sit-in movement; the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (sncc), the most militant of civil rights organizations, was founded in Raleigh; and that year also marked the deaths of two Mississippians. One was the novelist Richard Wright, who died an expatriate in Paris. The other, a Yale-educated lawyer and business leader from Greenville, David L. Cohn, had made himself into perhaps the most articulate defender of the social system of the Mississippi Delta. Cohn had famously defined its boundaries in 1935 as “begin[ning] in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and end[ing] on Catfish Row in Vicksburg.”