And Gently He Shall Lead Them: Robert Parris Moses and Civil Rights in Mississippi / Edition 1

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"This moving account of a key figure in American history contributes greatly to our understanding of the past. It also informs our vision of the servant leader needed to guide the 1990s movement." —Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children's Defense Fund

"First-rate intellectual and political history, this study explores the relations between the practical objectives of SNCC and its moral and cultural goals." —Irwin Unger, Author of These United States and Postwar America

"Robert Moses emerges from these pages as that rare modern hero, the man whose life enacts his principles, the rebel who steadfastly refuses to be victim or executioner and who mistrusts even his own leadership out of commitment to cultivating the strength, self-reliance, and solidarity of those with and for whom he is working. Eric Burner's engrossing account of Robert Moses's legendary career brings alive the everyday realities of the Civil Rights Movement, especially the gruelling campaign for voter registration and political organization in Mississippi." —Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Eleonore Raoul Professor of the Humanities, Emory University, author of Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the words of Manhattan lawyer Burner, Robert Parris Moses, a black teacher from New York City, was ``one of the most important yet most elusive figures'' of the civil rights movement. Given Moses's noncooperation, this brief study--which relies almost exclusively on secondary sources--can hardly penetrate the subject's psyche. Rather, this is a Moses-centric history of the early 1960s civil rights movement in Mississippi, describing the leader's move toward greater radicalism regarding black political and economic power, his consensual leadership style, his work organizing the 1964 ``Freedom Summer'' involving white college students and his disillusionment after the rejection of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic Convention. After a self-imposed exile teaching in Tanzania from 1969 to 1977, Moses returned to the United States, received a MacArthur Foundation ``genius'' grant and established the Algebra Project to teach math in the inner cities and in Mississippi. While Burner's intentions are worthy, his coverage of his subject is disappointingly limited. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Burner (law, Cadwalader, Wickersham, & Taft) tells the story of an elusive hero of the civil rights movement examining Moses' moral philosophy and his political and ideological evolution. Burner follows Moses through his community organizing in the 1960s, his involvements with the SNCC and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and his negotiations with the Department of Justice, and reveals the influence French philosopher Albert Camus had on Moses' life and work. Includes b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814712504
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1995
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 8.17 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric R. Burner is with the law firm Hunton & Williams.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction 1
1 "A Lot of Leaders" 9
2 "To 'Uncover What Is Covered'" 20
3 "This Is Mississippi, the Middle of the Iceberg" 32
4 "Food for Those Who Want to Be Free" 71
5 "One Man - One Vote" 89
6 Young American Revolutionaries 104
7 Freedom Summer 133
8 "To Bring Morality into Our Politics" 169
9 Disillusion and Renewal 200
Notes 225
Index 285
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