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#319290 - 01/19/09 04:58 PM Looking for an old book, hard to find
Marty Offline
The secret city;: A history of race relations in the Nation's Capital
by Constance McLaughlin Green (Author)

Now that we were teenagers, we had both the curiosity and mobility to investigate the strangely undemocratic city that dealt us this hand. In the words of Constance McLaughlin Green, a Pulitzer Prize-winning urban historian, the District’s black population had long occupied “a secret city all but unknown to the white world round about.” We wanted in on the secrets.

There was so much we didn’t know, so much Americans still don’t know. Take the Lincoln Memorial, to which the Obama family paid so poignant a nocturnal visit this month. If you look up coverage of the memorial’s 1922 dedication ceremonies in The Times, you can read of President Harding’s forceful oration commemorating the demise of slavery. You also learn that Dr. Robert R. Moton, the president of the Tuskegee Institute, was invited to pay tribute to Lincoln “in the name of 12,000,000 Negroes.”

Here’s what The Times did not report about Moton: “Instead of being placed on the speaker’s platform, he was relegated along with other distinguished colored people to an all-Negro section separated by a road from the rest of the audience.” So wrote Green in “The Secret City,” her landmark history of race relations in Washington. This was no anomaly. A local Ku Klux Klan had been formed months earlier, with no protests from either Congress or the white press, and the young Harding administration had toughened the exclusion of blacks from the city’s public recreation facilities.

The eye-opening “Secret City” recounting this secret history was not published until 1967, some four years after the Lincoln Memorial served as a backdrop for “I Have a Dream.” It was also in 1967 that I graduated from Woodrow Wilson High. As a valedictory, a bunch of us on the school paper voted to publish an editorial in favor of home rule for D.C. “Washingtonians have to beg, plead and cajole members of Congress for funds to renovate slums and slum schools,” it read. That was putting it mildly; we still had much to learn. But the editorial was enough of an irritant that our principal tried to censor it, which prompted a brief civic kerfuffle (“Student Editorial Banned at Wilson” read the headline in The Washington Post) and jump-started a few starry-eyed careers in journalism and political activism.

It was one year later that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and Washington’s secret city exploded. The fires and riotscame within a block of the building where the Obama transition set up shop.

From "White Like Me" Frank Rich, NYTImes

the book “Black Like Me”, also mentioned by Rich in this article, radically changed my perspective on race at an early age.

Gradually we would learn more — from our parents and teachers, from televised incidents of violent racial confrontations far away, and from odd cultural phenomena like the 1961 best seller “Black Like Me.” In that book, a white novelist darkened his skin for undercover travels through deepest Dixie, whose bigotry he then described in morbid firsthand detail to shocked adolescents like me.

#319302 - 01/19/09 05:49 PM Re: Looking for an old book, hard to find [Re: Marty]
lovey and thurston Offline
Another interesting book is" Escape of the Pearl". An interesting insight into Washington prior to the Civil War and the plight of "freed" blacks in our nations capital.
R.B. Mernitz

#319304 - 01/19/09 06:10 PM Re: Looking for an old book, hard to find [Re: lovey and thurston]
Marty Offline
hi Lovey, could that be this book?

#319316 - 01/19/09 06:56 PM Re: Looking for an old book, hard to find [Re: Marty]
lovey and thurston Offline
I don't think it is the same book. "Escape on the Pearl" was written by Mary Kay Ricks. Really a facinating insight to many of the slave holder senators of the day and also Lincon and his assent to the presidency.
R.B. Mernitz

#319318 - 01/19/09 06:58 PM Re: Looking for an old book, hard to find [Re: lovey and thurston]
lovey and thurston Offline
Sorry, I didn't click on your link. Yes, that is the book.
R.B. Mernitz

#319329 - 01/19/09 08:20 PM Re: Looking for an old book, hard to find [Re: lovey and thurston]
Marty Offline
cool thanks!

#319371 - 01/19/09 11:18 PM Re: Looking for an old book, hard to find [Re: Marty]
Peter Jones Offline
Bit of a hijack - if anyone comes across a copy of "A Pattern of Islands" by Sir Arthur Grimble, could you please buy it and bring it down with you? I'll gladly pay whatever it cost. Read it first of course. It's an amazing true story (a sort of biography) by a junior British diplomat between the wars (the world wars, that is) who lived and worked in the south Pacific Gilbert & Ellice Islands and rose to become British High Commissioner. The stories he tells are mind boggling. AFAIK it's been out of print for many years.

#322677 - 02/06/09 03:01 AM Re: Looking for an old book, hard to find [Re: Peter Jones]
Shingles Offline
Hi, just checked Amazon.com and they have several copies - the cheapest was $43 U.S. Sorry I didn't know this before as I am headed down there on Sunday. Too late for me to order it for you.

#322682 - 02/06/09 03:43 AM Re: Looking for an old book, hard to find [Re: Shingles]
Peter Jones Offline
Horrific prices! The one I have/had in England cost new around $10.

#322700 - 02/06/09 06:35 AM Re: Looking for an old book, hard to find [Re: Peter Jones]
kerry Offline
hey peter...found a used hardback copy on ebay for $2.19, plus $3.98 shipping...no dustcover...says cover is a bit worn and some scuffs...i can get it for you but will not be down until June 12...don't know how long this will last, so let me know if you want me to purchase it for you...maybe someone coming down sooner can go on e-bay and scoop it up for you...

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