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Voices in Our Blood
America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement
Written by Jon Meacham

Voices in Our Blood
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Category: History - United States - 20th Century; Social Science - African-American Studies; Political Science - Civil Rights
Imprint: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: January 2003
Price: $18.00
Can. Price: $20.00
ISBN: 978-0-375-75881-2 (0-375-75881-X)
Pages: 576

Voices in Our Blood is a literary anthology of the most important and artful interpretations of the civil rights movement, past and present. It showcases what forty of the nation's best writers—including Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Alice Walker, Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, and Richard Wright—had to say about the central domestic drama of the American Century.

Editor Jon Meacham has chosen pieces by journalists, novelists, historians, and artists, bringing together a wide range of black and white perspectives and experiences. The result is an unprecedented and powerful portrait of the movement's spirit and struggle, told through voices that resonate with passion and strength.

Maya Angelou takes us on a poignant journey back to her childhood in the Arkansas of the 1930s. On the front page of The New York Times, James Reston marks the movement's apex as he describes what it was like to watch Martin Luther King, Jr., deliver his heralded "I Have a Dream" speech in real time. Alice Walker takes up the movement's progress a decade later in her article "Choosing to Stay at Home: Ten Years After the March on Washington." And John Lewis chronicles the unimaginable courage of the ordinary African Americans who challenged the prevailing order, paid for it in blood and tears, and justly triumphed.

Voices in Our Blood is a compelling look at the movement as it actually happened, from the days leading up to World War II to the anxieties and ambiguities of this new century. The story of race in America is a never-ending one, and Voices in Our Blood tells us how we got this far—and how far we still have to go to reach the Promised Land.


Introduction by Jon Meacham


Inheritors of Slavery – Richard Wright
Twelve Million Black Voices: A Folk History of the Negro in the United States, 1941

North Toward Home – Willie Morris

Notes of a Native Son – James Baldwin

A Pageant of Birds – Eudora Welty
The New Repblic, October 25, 1943

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
Harper's Magazine, February 1970

Opera in Greenville – Rebecca West
The New Yorker, June 14, 1947


America Comes of Middle Age – Murray Kempton
—He Went All the Way, September 22, 1955
—Upon Such a Day, September 10,1957
—Next Day, September 12, 1957
—The Soul's Cry, September 13, 1957

American Segregation and the World Crisis – William Faulkner
The Segregation Decisions, November 10, 1955

The Moral Aspects of Segregation – Benjamin E. Mays
The Segregation Decisions, November 10, 1955

The Cradle (of the Confederacy) Rocks – Carl T. Rowan
Go South to Sorrow, 1957

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years – Taylor Branch

Prime Time – Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Colored People, 1994

Letter from the South – E.B. White
The New Yorker, April 7, 1956

Segregation: The Inner Conflict in the South – Robert Penn Warren

Travels with Charley – John Steinbeck

Liar by Legislation – Hodding Carter
Look, June 28, 1955

Harlem is Nowhere – Ralph Ellison
Harper's Magazine, August 1964

An Interview with Malcolm X – Alex Haley
—A Candid Conversation wtih the Militant Major-domo of the Black Muslims, Playboy, May 1963

Wallace – Marshall Frady

Mystery and Manners – Flannery O'Connor

The Negro Revolt Against "The Negro Leaders" – Louis E. Lomax
Harper's Magazine, June 1960


"I Have a Dream…" – James Reston
The New York Times, August 29, 1963

Capital is Occupied by a Gentle Army – Russell Baker
The New York Times, August 29, 1963

Bloody Sunday – John Lewis
Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, 1998

Mississippi: The Fallen Paradise – Walker Percy
Harper's Magazine, April 1965

This Quiet Dust – William Styron
Harper's Magazine, April 1965

When Watts Burned – Stanley Crouch
Rolling Stone's The Sixties, 1977

After Watts – Elizabeth Hardwick
—Violence in the City—An End or a Beginning?, The New York Review of Books March 31, 1966

The Brilliancy of Black – Bernard Weinraub
Esquire, January 1967

Representative – Charlayne Hunter-Gault
The New Yorker, April 1, 1967

The Second Coming of Martin Luther King – David Halberstam
Harper's Magazine, August 1967

Martin Luther King is Still on the Case – Garry Wills
Esquire, August 1968


"Keep On A-Walking, Children" – Pat Watters
New American Review, January 1969

"We in a War—Or Haven't Anybody Told You That?" – Peter Goldman
Report from Black America, 1969

Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's – Tom Wolfe
New York, June 8, 1970

Choosing to Stay At Home: Ten Years After the March on Washington – Alice Walker
The New York Times Magazine, August 26, 1973

A Hostile and Welcoming Workplace – Ellis Cose
The Rage of a Privileged Class, 1993

State Secrets – Calvin Trillin
The New Yorker, May 29, 1995

Grady's Gift – Howell Raines
The New York Times Magazine, December 1, 1991


Jon Meacham is managing editor of Newsweek. Born in Chattanooga in 1969, he is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Meacham has been a reporter for The Chattanooga Times and an editor of The Washington Monthly. He and his wife, Keith, live in New York City.