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Louisiana State University Press
South of Freedom

South of Freedom

by Carl T. Rowan, Douglas Brinkley


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South of Freedom

In 1951, Carl Rowan, a young African American journalist from Minneapolis, journeyed six thousand miles through the South to report on the reality of everyday life for blacks in the region. He sought out the hot spots of racial tension—including Columbia, Tennessee, the scene of a 1946 race riot, and Birmingham, Alabama, which he found to be a brutally racist city—and returned to the setting of his more personal trials: McMinnville, Tennessee, his boyhood home. In this “balance sheet of American race relations,” Rowan plots the racial mood of the South and describes simply but vividly the discrimination he encountered daily at hotels, restaurants, and railroad stations, on trains and on buses.

Originally published in 1952 and long out of print, South of Freedom is a first-rate account of what it was like to live as a second-class citizen, to experience the segregation, humiliation, danger, stereotypes, economic exploitation, and taboos that were all part of life for African Americans in the 1940s and 1950s. For this edition, Douglas Brinkley provides a new introduction, incorporating recent interviews with Rowan to place the work in the context of its time.

An engaging, disturbing look at the opinions of the time on the “Negro problem,” Rowan’s tales of travel in the South under Jim Crow are especially valuable today as a means of seeing how far we have advanced—and fallen short—in forty-five years.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807121702
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Publication date: 05/28/1997
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 270
Sales rank: 664,349
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

Since writing South of Freedom, Carl T. Rowan has become one of America’s most recognizable journalists. He is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Sun Times, a regular commentator on a number of Washington-based television shows, and the author of numerous books and articles, most recently The Coming Race War in America: A Wake-up Call; Breaking Barriers: A Memoir; and Dream Makers, Dream Breakers: The World of Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Douglas Brinkley, director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans, is the author of The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey; Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years; and Jimmy Carter: The Post-Presidential Years.

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