Although few have heard of him nowadays, when Walter White was buried in 1955 the New York Times called him "the nearest approach to a national leader of American Negroes since Booker T. Washington." For more than two decades, White, as secretary of the NAACP, was perhaps the nation's most visible and most powerful African-American leader. He helped end lynching in America, hosted one of the premier salons of the Harlem Renaissance, created the legal strategy that led to Brown v. Board of Education, and demanded that Hollywood give better roles to black actors. Driven by ambitions for himself and his people, he offered his entire life to the advancement of civil rights in America. Thomas Dyja's fascinating and compelling biography of Walter White takes us into the personal and political world of this fair-skinned, blond and blue-eyed, brash and impulsive, stylish and complex man. His story is about one of the few individuals in our history who devoted himself so completely to the concept of a color-blind nation, yet lost the delicate balance between ambition and advocacy that had been his trademark. The events of the modern civil rights movement ultimately worked together to consign White to a back corridor of American memory, but in rescuing him Mr. Dyja confronts some of the most difficult issues between black and white in America. With 15 black-and-white photographs.
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