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S. KONDRASHOVLIFE AND DEATH MARTIN LUTHER KING★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★MOSCOW "THOUGHT" 1986BBC 66.3 (7 U.S.A.)К64HISTORY BOOKSк 0506000000-188 004(01 )-86© Mysl Publishing House. 1986      Edition of the second, correctedFROM AUTHORThis book was first published in 1970.I wrote it on the basis of my personal observations and experience as a person who had had the opportunity to observe America and Americans for more than six years as a New York correspondent for Izvestia.It was only natural that as a correspondent, and in the 1960s, I wrote about the then very active and massive black American civil rights movement and tried to understand the complex, serious problems associated with that movement. I could not help but be interested in the magnetic personality of Pastor Martin Luther King, an outstanding leader of the Negro masses in the United States.King was born and ruined by American society. He was murdered at the age of only thirty-nine. Almost twenty years have passed since then. However, despite the well-known characteristic of Americans to live only for today, forgetting and writing off the past, King has not been forgotten. His invisible presence is still felt on the American scene.His name still resonates strongly both inside and outside the United States.He is undeniably accorded an honored place in the history of his country, as well as in the history of the 20th century liberation movement.Since 1968, when he was assassinated, there has been a fifteen-year push in the U.S. Congress to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. The corresponding law was passed by Congress and signed by the American president in 1983. From now on, every third Monday in January is celebrated in the United States as Martin Luther King's birthday. It is worth recalling that there is only one such holiday in the American calendar - the birthday of George Washington, the first president of the United States.Thus, for the first time, an American contemporary to us has had the historic honor of standing next to one of the "fathers of the nation."Alexander Blok once said that a poet has a destiny, not a career. The lofty notion of destiny does not always apply to public and statesmen. But King was a man of such a tragic path and such a political importance for his country that in his case it is quite appropriate to speak of fate. His life was cut short early, but after his death he stepped into immortality, continuing to live in the minds of his contemporaries and descendants.For me personally, King's assassination was a great shock and at the same time a powerful impetus, a command of moral duty to tell the Soviet reader about this great American- Then I realized that the framework of a newspaper article or essay was too narrow for my intention. I began to work on a book. A lot of personal was connected with this work, because, deepening into the subject, trying to comprehend my hero, I cognized at the same time and myself, and the time in which we live. Great men are like torches.They illuminate the world around us and show us the way.Martin Luther King fought against all forms of oppression and racial discrimination, for the triumph of freedom and justice. In his most famous speech, he said that he dreamed of a day when "the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveholders could sit down together at the table of brotherhood".Has his dream come true? Only another book - on the present condition of the black population in America - could answer that question with sufficient completeness. Such books have been and are being written, including in our country, by other Americanists. In short, having achieved equality formally, under the law, black Americans are still victims of inequality in fact. What, then, has King accomplished?A lot of things. He made American society look at its black fellow citizens with different eyes. He stirred in black Americans a sense of self-respect, pride, and self-confidence. Finally, he accomplished something he may never have imagined. He himself became an example in the eyes of those for whom, as he said, "beauty lies in truth and truth in beauty, for whom the beauty of true brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds, silver, or gold."ONE APRILEVENING...It was a quiet April day with no big news, and just as quietly it passed into the evening, without promising a hurried night's correspondent work. With Sergei Losev, head of the TASS office in New York, we were sitting in the Izvestia office discussing the details of one long and tiring visit. Then Sergei hurried home, but I persuaded him to stay for another half hour and listen to the evening news program on CBC Channel 2, the popular program of Walter Cronkite, who is famous here. And Cronkite, as always, appeared on the screen at seven o'clock sharp - a familiar face with wide, bushy eyebrows, a network of wrinkles near his eyes and a gray mustache - and in a trained, clear and succinct voice began to report on America and the world of that passing day. We listened to Cronkite and the CBC correspondents he, like a magician, let in and out of the screen. And they assured us that nothing had happened during the day that would change our plans for the evening and remind us of the familiar truth: events control the correspondent's time, and he was only a short branch of the world's high-voltage network.And when Cronkite was nearing the end, and the news he had arranged in order of importance was becoming shallower and more insignificant, and was about to end with some humor, Sergei broke away from the screen and went into his office to make a telephone call. And then suddenly, at the last minute of the half-hour program, Cronkite cut off some short, trifling telefilm and excitedly, hurriedly - his time was running out - almost shouted that Martin Luther King had been shot in Memphis, Tennessee, and that he had been mortally wounded and taken to St. Joseph's Hospital.I jumped up. I shouted to Sergei;- King has been mortally wounded!Sergei ran into the living room. Sergei was out of his mind. He was cursing:- Bastards! Those bastards! They killed him. What bastards!Cronkite had precisely met his rigid half-hour and in the very last seconds, crinkling the wrinkles near his eyes and stroking the desk with his hands, pressed his lips together in a businesslike manner before the traditional parting phrase:- This is the state of affairs on Thursday, April Fourth, 1968....And at once the machine, saving the expensive television time, not allowing a single idle moment, was switched on, and music burst in, inviting, cheerful, like a tinkling sunny spring day, and to match this music the singsongy, stretching words: "Stre-e-e-tch your coffee break...". And Walter Cronkite disappeared, and a cup of steaming coffee appeared on the screen, and an optimistic gentleman loomed behind it, and without wasting time, the gentleman gracefully pulled the ribbon, freed a thin bar of Peppermint gum from its wrapper and tucked it into his fragrant mouth, as a gentleman of 1968 should. And the coffee cup squatted, yes, squatted, spread wide, stretched with inexpressible pleasure at the sight of that thin bar. "Stre-e-e-e-tch your coffee break.... Stre-e-e-tch your coffee break..."We rushed to the garage and by car through the evening Manhattan, which had just thrown off the burden of the rush hour, rushed to the TASS office, to the teletypes, which lightning, lightning, lightning of numerous telegraphic agencies mercilessly soberly predicted that King did not live.And the echo of these thunderous "lightnings" flew Sergei's telegrams to Moscow, and I quickly returned to my corps and chained myself to the TV screen and radio: the evening had changed, turned upside down, the evening was sending a thunderstorm.At 8.40 another program on ABC Channel Seven was supplanted on the screen by the gray repeated word "bulletin.... ballot... ballot... ballot..." and the announcer quickly, lest he be overtaken by other announcers on other channels, announced that Martin Luther King had died. Behind the announcer's back you could see the TV studio, and in it the nervous jostling of people in a workmanlike manner, without jackets, in white shirts.And again, immediately after the bulletin, as tirelessly as a bullet in a machine that fires in bursts, there was an advertisement for a Chevrolet automobile: hurry! hurry! you can buy it right now on a particularly favorable loan. And a young beauty with waving hair, an appetizing object of such sweet, publicly admissible lust - tight white pants outlined the first-class bulges - sat behind the wheel of the preferential "Chevrolet", and with her, of course, was he, virile and strong, neatly pressed, all fitted and picked up male model of 1968. To triumphant music they rolled along the road-alley, like a road to paradise, and the announcer's voice explained what unusually strong tires are here, what strength is hidden in the engine and how surprisingly easy the terms of credit. And the couple was convinced that this was the way it was. She had a radiant smile - where do smiles come from? - and, stretching long legs in tight pants, swinging on a swing, then approaching, almost jumping out of the screen, there she is, ready for a hug! - then flying up to the seventh heaven. And from there, from the seventh television sky, she was happily looking at her partner and at the car shining with nickel and high-quality varnish. And behind these swings hinted the supreme idea of what bliss awaits them in bed, if nearby, in the home garage, obediently and always at the service will stand "Chevrolet-68", ready to take them on its elastic seats.The tragic bulletin, and then the advertisement, mixed with welfare and lust, was like a whip across my face, like a scourge, and I realized - not even that I realized, but instantly and eerily realized that this superimposition of advertising on tragedy, this unstoppable, like the rigid rotation of cosmic worlds, mercantilism, smirking, was triumphing over King's death, as it had triumphed over his life and struggle. Bitterness took over his throat, bitterness and pain at the thought that they would learn nothing, could learn nothing, while it was like this. There is a time to live and a time to die. And there is the longest American time of bargaining: no matter what happens, one must skip the advertising already paid for, one must glorify and market the product, for everything in the world is trifling next to buying and selling.Then, until April 9, for five whole days, television familiarized and accustomed the Americans to King's death, for five days television buried Martin Luther King energetically, actively, sometimes touchingly, to the point of tears. The commercials moved aside (later the merchants will calculate what it cost them to mourn and condolences), and on the day of the funeral from ten in the morning to six in the evening completely disappeared from the screen. But all this did not erase the first impression, the desperate feeling that nothing can change for the better as long as the consciousness is broken, packaged, cut to pieces by the sharp blades of mercantile "commercials", which, like professional executioners, quarter the integrity of the tragedy. Everything will be quickly forgotten, will go under the knife of other news, will be buried in the memory, and in a month or two the murder in Memphis will be hidden behind the ridges of new events. Was there a King? Maybe there was no King.It was memorable for me, that evening of April 4. The reactions were swift. Shortly after the news of the death, television cameras in the White House showed President Johnson. Five days before Memphis, he had announced that he would not seek election to a second term. The country had not yet had time to chew and digest this news before King's assassination pushed it to the back burner. Johnson walked swiftly from his office to the podium with a presidential eagle clutching a palm branch with one paw and a bundle of menacing arrows with the other: a terse condolence message, a plea for the nation to remain calm, a message that because of the Memphis assassination he had canceled a flight to Hawaii, where he had expected to discuss the Vietnam War with General Westmoreland and Admiral Sharpe. The President was anxiously serious, somber, allowed no questions.Correspondents flew to Memphis. The television reporters worked deftly. Agitated witnesses to the murder cooled down under the glare of television cameras and obediently laid out their testimony. They were looking for the killer - a man who had fled in a white Mustang. Memphis blacks were the first to get worried, and the governor of Tennessee immediately ordered the National Guard to enter the city. Already went urgently mounted special programs about the life and struggle of King. His friends and acquaintances were all over the television stations. The shot rang out at 6:05 p.m. Memphis time, 7:05 a.m. New York time. Evening had not yet turned to night, and already the whole world knew of the murder. The front pages of newspapers were turning over, choking on the expanding flow of information, and the teletypes of agencies were pounding.There were protests and obituaries. Commentators gazed into the ghetto - King's death was already a fact, but its implications were still unclear and frightening.I was burdened by all my six-plus years in America, on top of which the Memphis tragedy now lay. I was languishing with an old thought that had often faded into the background, but now refreshed and proven anew by King's blood: you can expect anything in this country, and therefore from this country, which, by the way, has nuclear weapons. And at the same time it was necessary to do business: to watch the TV screen, to call colleagues, to catch and process the flow of facts, assumptions, rumors, to go to the corner of 72nd Street and Broadway for a fresh newspaper and to put everything into the scanty, narrow lines of newspaper correspondence. And it didn't...Martin Luther King... I'd seen him at rallies, from the press seats. I knew the silence that embraced the hall when he appeared at the podium-a silence of attention and respect. One day we met briefly at the University of Chicago, and I felt the shaking of his hand, saw close up the calm, serious, darkly lustrous Negro eyes, the firm big lips and the heavy chin. I heard the restrained murmur of the baritone, which at rallies rumbled, swayed tensely like a bell, loud, reaching everyone, and yet carrying an excessive, unconcealed power. Dr. King was in a hurry, as always, and was hurried along by an assistant, also dressed in the austere, black coat of a Baptist pastor. I asked for an interview for my newspaper, and King agreed. But his days were scheduled American-style, far in advance, and the schedule was not at hand, and he advised me to contact his headquarters in Atlanta. The answer came from the secretary - King was not in Atlanta; they asked me to wait until he returned. He was perpetually on the road and perpetually busy, and after Memphis the date, alas, would not be forthcoming. I wanted to write about the living King. Now I have to write about the dead King.During my American years, I got used to the fact that King exists, that he lives and fights, that not today or tomorrow I will meet him again in absentia or in person. But you get used to many people, many politicians, if only because you follow the windings of their careers and inform the reader about them. Some people you simply get used to, others you tolerate, hiding dislike in the politeness of a newspaper - you treat them as a poisonous fact of life that you cannot abolish. I didn't just get used to King. I was glad to have him.Truth, justice - these words have long been easy prey for demagogues. But there are people who have the rare and elusive ability to return those words to their original holy power. You look at such people skeptically and critically at first, you turn them in your mind this way and that, you compare words and deeds, you are careful and picky, because you have been wrong many times, faith comes to you not immediately and as if reluctantly, but after checking five, and ten, and a hundred times, you are convinced - yes, this is that rare person for whom the search for truth and justice is the essence, not a seasonal garment. That's what Martin Luther King was to me. His truth and justice was huge because it connected to the huge problem of a huge country. It was a whole, powerful, organically developing nature in a country and time where and when the human personality is as fragmented and shredded as a weekly television program.When King was assassinated, he was 39 years old, an age at which American politicians are usually just entering the orbit of their careers and looming before the eyes of voters, attracting votes and attention. King sought not a career but justice for millions of black Americans, and this Negro from Atlanta was known in perhaps every American home. World fame was not an end in itself for him either, and it came unexpectedly - thanks to the furious Birmingham police officers who unleashed their furious sheepdogs on the marchers in May 1963. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1964 at the age of 35, but he did not rest on his Nobel laurels. What was most important to him was the love of the Negro masses in the South and North of the United States, who held out to him hopes for a better life. He stirred up these hopes, knew how hard it was to fulfill them, and went all the way. He was called the president of black America, but to the illiterate Negro sharecroppers of Alabama and South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi, he was more than a president-he was the prophet Moses, leading his people to the promised land. How motley is this super-industrialized country if millions of its stepchildren in the latter half of the twentieth century still have the religious ecstasy of people who trust only in God and miracles! It is easy to laugh at their naiveté. It is more important to see behind this naiveté the tragedy of millions of American blacks and of America as a whole.His life - and especially his political life - was short but extremely intense, and King himself had long been prepared for it to be forcibly cut short. Narrating this life is not easy, because the narrative inevitably degenerates into a chronicle of the Negro movement over the last fifteen dramatic years. In some ways, King was a mirror of that movement - with all its successes and failures, its hopes and disappointments, its strengths and weaknesses. And he died when Negro protest in defiance of King grew into riots and the counterattacks of white America intensified.Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. His father, Martin Luther King Sr. 'whom acquaintances preferred to call Mike King, was at the time the associate pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, which stands at the intersection of Auburn Avenue and Jackson Street. As a young black man, Mike King had had his share of black hardship, but by the time the second of his three children was born, he was doing as well as a Negro minister could do in Atlanta, with a steady, good income and belonging to the privileged upper class of the local Negro community. This upper class lived in the Auburn Avenue neighborhood and included many of the parishioners of Ebenezer Church, where the head pastor was Adam Daniel Williams, Mike King's father-in-law.The roots of the family tree went back to slavery. Williams, Martin's maternal grandfather, was born in 1863 into a slave family; it was the year of emancipation for blacks proclaimed by Lincoln. In 1894 he came to the Ebenezer church and, being a man not only religious but also practical, succeeded in making it one of the respectable and financially sound Negro churches of Atlanta. Williams was highly respected by his congregation, and by local Negroes in general, and when in 1926 his daughter Alberta married Mike King, who preached in two modest churches, the aspiring pastor was given a place in the house on the hill and in the pulpit of a respectable church. His father-in-law's reputation also helped him.Martin's paternal grandfather had Negro blood mixed with Irish blood, a very temperamental mixture. James King bent his back on the cotton plantations near Stockbridge, twenty miles from Atlanta, worked hard and hard, and, as is known from family lore, drank hard and hard with heavy Negro longing, often having drunken fights in his hovel, and, according to the universal custom of the poor, taking his grief out on his wife. Once, sixteen-year-old Mike, who inherited his father's temperament, when taming James's rampage, almost strangled him. The mother and other children pulled Mike away. In a rage James rushed to the hunting rifle, but did not have time to discharge it - the son ran away. When Mike returned to his father's house the next night with fear, James King, apologizing to his son, vowed never to hurt his wife and his mother again. He kept his word.Mike King experienced many things on his way to Ebenezer Church and home on Auburn Avenue. He worked as a mechanic's handyman in a garage, as a fireman on the railroad, and attended night school and graduated. He realized the importance of education and spared no effort or money to educate his children. Martin Luther King graduated from high school and the all-male Negro Morehouse College in Atlanta. He studied well. His father predicted a clergy career for him, knowing that a Negro priest has a better chance for a secure piece of bread, recognition of his community and basic courtesy from whites. But the church did not immediately attract Martin. Although the pastor's son and grandson had been in the juice since infancy and had performed in the church choir, the Negro church, with its fatalistic emotionalism, soon began to seem to him primitive, unintellectual, and behind the times, behind the complex, branching, dynamic flow of life in the industrialized country of the twentieth century. He dreamed of being a doctor, but not for long. Then, in college, he became interested in oratory, took first and second places in student political eloquence competitions. His father, a prominent priest and civil rights activist by that time, as well as the influence of theological professors, eventually prevailed.After graduating from Morehouse College, King Jr. continued his studies in the North - at Crozer Theological Seminary near Chester, Pennsylvania, where he became a Bachelor of Divinity, and at Boston University, where in 1955 he defended his dissertation and received his Ph. D. degree. There, in the North, where there was no cruel muzzle of segregation and a Negro could enter the university, Martin met another temporary fugitive from the South, a Negro girl named Coretta Scott, a conservatory student. Her father was a prosperous farmer in Perry County, Alabama, and like King, she was able to get a good education in the North - at Antioch College, Ohio, and then at the Boston Conservatory. She dreamed of a singing career rather than marriage, but they met and fell in love, and in June 1953 on Farmer Scott's front lawn, Pastor King Sr. presided over their marriage ceremony.So, outwardly, life flowed serenely and even happily. Yes, he was a lucky man, a sturdy young man who knew no want, who was always tastefully dressed, who had learned good manners, who had received an excellent education. And his father did everything to bring his son into the world. His father was proud of him and, intending to preserve the Ebinzer Church as a kind of "family institution", made the young scholar theologian his assistant. His father encouraged him and, when Martin became a bachelor of theology, gave him a Chevrolet automobile. This gift proved that the aging pastor had money. The King family belonged to the Negro bourgeoisie of Atlanta. William Robert Miller, who published a biography of King in 1968, wrote: "As the son of a minister, young Martin enjoyed a secure childhood. The black bourgeoisie of Auburn Avenue was little affected by the plague of unemployment that struck the Negro masses in the Depression years that followed Martin's birth-no less than 65 percent of Atlanta's black population was then on the welfare rolls, and thousands of sharecroppers were uprooted from their rural surroundings. For the Kings and Williams, life was going well."Yes, life was going well if.... If you don't think, if you live the life of a snail, hidden in a warm and cozy home shell, if you don't see the disasters of the mass of black Americans. If, at the cost of losing your dignity, you learn to get along with the alien, hostile, ever-attacking white world that surrounds you at every turn. What does a man want? The father wanted to take his son out into the world, but what does it mean to go out into the world? The simplest answer inevitably boiled down to the fact that for a Negro, especially a Negro in the U.S. South, to go out to the people means to go out to second-class people, or, as it is commonly said, to second-class citizens. Even a Ph.D. degree does not guarantee basic human rights if the Ph.D. is a Negro in the American South and his rights are determined by a white racist. King learned this truth long before he defended his dissertation.The school of life begins in early childhood, and it is a special school for the Negro child. Five-year-old Martin learned his first lesson when he lost the friendship of two white boys, the sons of a neighborhood grocer, who were playing with him in the street. They suddenly began to shun him. He would run up to the grocer's house and call his friends to the street, but their parents would reply, however, without any overt hostility, that the boys were not at home, or that they were busy, that they had no time to play with him. In their own way they spared the little negro, and spared themselves, by shifting the burden of explanation to his parents. And, puzzled, he brought his perplexity to his mother one day and, sitting on her lap, learned for the first time - and what more could .his mother do, and what was the use of delaying if the truth was already bearing down upon him and could be brought down upon his head by strangers and ruthless men? - of slavery, of the civil war between North and South, of his being born black and his friends white, and of the vast and terrible things that followed.What could his mother do to comfort him? Taking upon her children's shoulders the terrible burden of the past and present, which she had carried herself since childhood, which undergirded every American Negro, she said to Martin: "You are as good as any other..."And it was true, he felt it, as any world-opening child would, but that did not cancel out the facts of life, and they made themselves known, and the farther away, the more.King remembered another scene from his childhood. With his father, a big, strong, respected man, they went into a shoe store. The dollars were the same whether they were from a black pocket or a white pocket, and the salesman was ready to serve them, but they sat down at the entrance on chairs for the whites, and the salesman asked them to go to the part of the room where the "colored" people were trying on shoes.- What's wrong with these seats? - King Sr. asked, as if he didn't know what was wrong with them. - We're comfortable here.- I'm sorry," said the polite salesman, "but you'll have to go through.- Either we buy these shoes here, or we don't buy any shoes," King Sr. said angrily.The salesman threw up his hands, and father and son left. When a father is humiliated in front of his son, it burns both of them, it destroys the foundations in the child's mind. They walked down the street. Never had little Martin seen his father so furious. "No matter how long I have to live under this system, I will never recognize it!" - the elder King vowed, and the son memorized that vow.Oh, the educational power of humiliation. Do fools not realize that they are sowing a wind that will come back to them in a storm?One day my father ran a stop light in his car. "Park aside, boy, and show me your license," said the white policeman when he saw the Negro driving. "I'm not a boy, I'm not a boy," the father retorted. "He's a boy," he nodded toward Martin, "and I'm a man, a human being, and until you call me that, I won't listen to you.He demanded that his dignity be respected - a great courage in Atlanta in the '30s. King Jr.'s fearlessness was hereditary. The father single-handedly waged the kind of struggle to which the son later raised many thousands. The father hadn't ridden a bus since he once witnessed a brutal massacre of Negro passengers.He led a campaign in Atlanta for equal pay for Negro teachers with whites, and pushed for the desegregation of elevators in the local courthouse.Any venture into the outside, big world seemed a foray into the enemy camp, dangerous and risky, shattering the illusion of safety even in one's own home, though it was not hostility the child wanted, for what child's heart is ready for hostility and bitterness?When Martin was eleven years old, his mother left him in the store one day, excommunicating herself to a neighboring store. A white lady came up to the boy and slapped him hard across the face, shouting: "Ah, it's you, you little nigger! You're the one who stepped on my foot!" He did not step on her foot, but neither he nor his mother dared respond to the humiliating slap, although if the Negro woman had struck the white child, she might have been torn on the spot.As a student at Morehouse College, he worked during summer vacation in a mattress factory and found that white students working nearby were paid more than Negroes for the same labor.In Chester and Boston King felt freer, the web of segregation was less extensive, relations with white students were usually relaxed, if not friendly, but there, too, in the North, a special, eternal Negro vigilance was required, and there one had to tread carefully to avoid falling into the traps of humiliation.Once he and two girls and a fellow student (all three were Negroes) were refused service in a suburban restaurant in New Jersey, where public places were desegregated by law. When they didn't want to leave the restaurant, the owner showed up with a gun, fired in the air, and threatened, "If you don't leave, I'll kill you!" They left, only to return with police officers. The restaurateur was arrested for breaking the law, and two white students who had observed the episode volunteered to be witnesses for the prosecution. Then they chickened out and the case was hushed up.Thus, in parallel with the university, young King took a life course in Negro universal education in the United States.And yet, it seemed to him, in the North breathed easier, and by the end of the training was tempted to stay there. He was offered a choice of pastorates in two Negro churches, and Coretta leaned toward the "northern one.But the South, whatever it was, was still his homeland, and a sense of duty had already been added to his blood attachment - the salutary escape to the North smacked of betrayal. He chose the South, and by competition, after delivering a trial sermon, "Three Dimensions of a Full Life," he became pastor of Dexter Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. After earning a Ph.D. in systematic theology, King moved there with his wife in June 1955.It was hard to find a more symbolic place for a champion of equality than Dexter Church in Montgomery. Alabama has only one rival in the record of racism, Mississippi, and the Alabama capital of Montgomery was the cradle of a confederacy of Southern states that broke away from the anti-slavery North in the 1960s. On the steps of the Capitol in Montgomery, Jefferson Davis was proclaimed president of the Confederate States of America on February 18, 1861. Then came the Civil War, the bloodiest in American history, and as a sign of Northern victory and the brief Negro will brought about by that victory, the brick Dexter Church was erected in the immediate neighborhood of the racist Capitol, on the same square.For nearly a century they have looked at each other, the neat little church of three hundred parishioners and the false classical, monumental Capitol, and the little church has humbly lowered its eyes, while the white dome of the Capitol has looked down upon it with annihilation and exasperation, with good reason: the equality of Negroes with whites after the Civil War was short-lived; since 1875 no Alabama Negro has ever entered under the Capitol dome as a member of the Alabama State Legislature.The learned pastor did not appear at Dexter Church to change the balance of this symbolic confrontation. The scion of the Negro bourgeoisie, an intellectual priest, he was attracted to a congregation of community college teachers and men of the free professions, which, in the words of Miller, King's biographer, gave Dexter Church "a tone more intellectual and less emotional." He had no thought, of course, of shirking the usual "public errands" for a Negro minister, but at first nothing about him portended the King who had been murdered in Memphis. Soon, however, an event occurred that turned his fate upside down.Rosa Parks, a resident of Montgomery, a seamstress in a department store, finished her shift and boarded a city bus on the evening of December 1, 1955. The bus was crowded at rush hour. The white driver ordered Rosa Parks and three other Negroes to get up and give way to the white passengers. The three habitually obeyed. Rosa Parks did not get up: she was dead tired from the day's work, and her foot was sore from the cramped shoe. And - how many times! - Rosa Parks was an activist in the timid local civil rights movement. She had been forcibly dragged off the bus and arrested for disorderly conduct in the city.The order was as follows: buses in Montgomery, as elsewhere in the South, did not scorn Negro prices and passengers, but the Negro entered through the front door, paid the driver, and then, in order not to "stink," got off the bus and - if the bus had not left in the meantime, and it happened - re-entered it, but through the back door and took an empty seat in the back. He had to give up even this seat, if there were not enough seats for whites on the bus.The drivers were white, the code of bus mutual courtesy, of course, did not apply to blacks, they were shouted at, called "niggers", "black monkeys", "black cows". In 1955 alone, five women and two children (men did not count) were arrested for insubordination on buses, and one black "stubborn" man was shot dead by the driver.There were about fifty thousand Negroes living in Montgomery, one out of every three Negroes there, and they made up seventy percent of the city's bus passengers. The arrest of Rosa Parks overflowed the cup of patience. The idea of a one-day bus boycott was born.Young King, in support of the idea, offered his church to host a meeting of boycott organizers. The boycott was set for Dec. 5. Its leaders hoped for the support of at least 60 percent of Negroes, but they were unwittingly played into the hands of a not-so-smart police chief who urged Negroes to refrain from the boycott and pledged support for the Streckbreakers. On December 5, every bus was followed by a police motorcycle, and seeing this escort, even compliant Negroes stayed away from possible trouble. To the amazement of the organizers, the boycott became almost one hundred percent.At six o'clock in the morning King, who from excitement had hardly slept the night before, was drinking coffee in the kitchen. "Come here quickly, Martin!" - Coretta called out to him. Below the window, at the bus stop, it was empty. And a bus passed by quite empty, though at the early hour it was usually filled with Negroes - maids, cooks, janitors - going to work for the white owners of Montgomery. Another bus - empty, completely empty. The third had two passengers - white. And the front and back seats were all for them. They could dance on that empty bus.That same morning Rosa Parks was tried and fined 14 dollars. In the afternoon King was elected head of the boycott committee, a boycott until victory, although, to tell the truth, not everyone believed in it.King was chosen only because he, still new in Montgomery, had no opponents either among the local authorities or among rival Negro groups. What was needed was a man acceptable to all, and King proved to be such a man - he was voted for unanimously. King was surprised; he did not aspire to leadership. Everything happened quickly and by accident, but are there not accidents that suddenly turn on in a man an unheard-of motor that neither he nor others knew existed, and are there not such beneficial burdens that make the back grow strong?"And we got Moses!" - the Montgomery Negro I. D. Nixon, to whom the idea of the boycott belonged, would say with amazement much later. Yes, they got more than they expected.But on that day they did not yet know what they had received, and the astonished boycott leader, accustomed to fifteen hours' preparation for each sermon, prepared his first political speech in twenty minutes, in a hurry, in order to have time to introduce himself at a rally in an unfamiliar church on Holt Street. He made it in time. The crowded church buzzed excitedly, as did the four thousand negroes outside. The unusually large audience pleased and frightened him, but his voice was firm, measured, and thunderous.- There comes a time of weariness," King said. "We are gathered here tonight to tell those who have bullied us for so long that we are tired, tired of segregation and humiliation, tired of the cruel kicks of oppression. We have no choice but to protest. For years and years we have exhibited amazing patience. Sometimes the white brothers might have thought we liked the way they treated us. Tonight we gather to get rid of that patience...It was not for a week or a month that the Negroes proved to Montgomery that they had got rid of their long-suffering. The boycott lasted 381 days and became a landmark in modern American history - it is from it that the struggle for equality is now reckoned to have begun.They were well organized and generally friendly. Negroes who owned taxicabs transported the boycott participants to and from work at bus fares. Twenty cars were bought for the same purpose with money from the boycott fund. But most had to get up early in the morning and walk the long miles from Negro to white neighborhoods in this even physically divided city: two-thirds of Montgomery's Negro women and half of its Negroes worked for its white owners as maids and laborers. And so the boycott became known as Walk For Freedom - walking for freedom.The resistance of the authorities and the overwhelmingly white population was fierce, persistent, and diverse. From the dust of the archives, the authorities retrieved the half-forgotten "anti-boycott law" of 1921 and put 90 Negro activists on trial, accusing them also of organizing "illegal" public transportation. Negro cab drivers who transported boycott participants had their cab licenses taken away. In addition to legal means of struggle, they used slander, threats, and outright terror. A false rumor was spread that King was pocketing the boycott funds and had already bought himself a Cadillac and a Buick of the latest models. One day he was arrested for speeding. His home phone spewed obscenities from anonymous haters. One night, when he was already in bed, another call came in. "Listen, nigger," said an unfamiliar voice, "this week ain't over yet, and you're gonna wish you'd settled in Montgomery.Yes, he was now known in the city, and with fame came the first respect of some and the first hatred of others, and he discovered that hatred is more tangible than love, at least it has more effective means of expression. On January 30, as the boycott entered its second month, racists threw a bomb at his house, the first of many. It exploded on the veranda. Coretta and Yoki's young daughter were miraculously unhurt. King was at a rally. Suddenly he saw a worried Ralph Abernethy, the same Ralph Abernethy who was destined to take King's place after the Memphis shooting and who had been his right-hand man since the early days of the Montgomery boycott. "What's the matter?" After a moment's hesitation, Ralph told him, "Your house was bombed..."He was young and inexperienced, he was an idealist. He had achieved little - the right to ride buses on the same terms as whites, he had achieved for others because he had a car and the church was close to home. It turned out that even for bus equality one had to be willing to pay with one's life, not only one's own, but also the lives of one's loved ones. Did he have the right to do that?He was only elected as head of the boycott committee. It turned out that he had been chosen as the racists' first target, and the measure of their hatred and determination was whether or not he should live. Everything was mixed up in a much cooler way than could have been suggested, the interconnections were shorter, more unexpected, more dangerous. The bus boycott acutely raised the question of choice. King experienced fear and later was not ashamed to admit it.He was young and inexperienced, and such was the strain, such was the mud of slander and calumny, such threats at every turn saturated the days and nights that a month and a half after the boycott began he was on the verge of nervous exhaustion, panic, surrender. After that telephone warning he did not sleep through the night. "I am afraid," he pondered in the silence near the silenced phone, "I am looked at as a leader, and if I appear before them deprived of strength and courage, they will also tremble. And my strength is running out. I have nothing left. And later he recalled the hard but firm conviction born that night: "Stand for justice, stand for truth, and God will always be on your side." Fear became a prelude to fearlessness, accelerated the choice. He cut off his way back. Retreat was tantamount to killing the man in him and perpetuating the slave.By that evening, when the first bomb was thrown onto the porch of his house, the hesitation was over. Montgomery Mayor Tacky Gale, who arrived on the scene with police officers, was surrounded by a large crowd of angry Negroes ready to lynch the mayor, a racist sympathizer. Rushing home, King saw an explosion brewing. Standing on the ruined veranda, he urged the Negroes to disperse: "Behave peacefully .... We are against violence. We want to love our enemies. If they stop me, our cause will not stop anyway, because it is just."The Negroes dispersed.Then bombs were planted at other addresses - Abernethy's house, Negro churches, a cab stand. The Ku Klux Klan became active in Montgomery, all over Alabama. On February 10, 1956, a large racist rally was held at the city's Coliseum, where Mississippi Senator James Eastland, an arch-segregationist, was among the other speakers. Flyers were handed out to rally attendees. "We hold as self-evident the truths that all whites are created equal, that they all have certain rights, among which are the right to life, liberty, and the happiness of seeing dead niggers," read this peculiar "document of the age. "Friends, it is time to wise up to these black devils. I tell you that there is a group of bipedal agitators who persistently walk up and down the streets, moving their black lips. If we don't stop helping these African cannibals, we will wake up one fine morning and find Reverend King in the White House."But the Montgomery blacks won.Following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, since December 21, 1956, they had the right to sit anywhere on buses and not jump up and down in front of whites.The racists of the South tried King's tenacity for the first time, and for him a new life began - the life of a fighter. He learned to under-sleep, to see his family in snatches. He stepped onto the national stage and flew and traveled the country extensively, making political speeches, raising badly needed money, seeking solidarity and sympathy. He was recognized with the honorable and dangerous right to be in the front rank of the freedom marches - a tempting target.From the days of the boycott, King understood the power of organized thousands. He gradually developed tactics of nonviolent mass "direct action," adapting to the American South the methods of Mahatma Gandhi, who used the weapon of civil disobedience against the British. Like Gandhi, King was inspired by the ideas of the great nineteenth-century American poet and philosopher Henry Thoreau, who, in his treatise Civil Disobedience, defended the right of citizens to resist unjust laws and acts of government.Why nonviolence? King repeatedly explained why he chose this method. In the last explanation, published in The Onion magazine after his assassination, King wrote: "In the South, nonviolence was a constructive doctrine because it paralyzed the rabid segregationists who craved the opportunity to physically crush the Negroes. Direct nonviolent action gave Negroes the opportunity to take to the streets in active protest and at the same time diverted the oppressor's rifles, for even he could not kill unarmed men, women, and children in broad daylight. That is why there were fewer casualties in ten years of protest in the South than in ten days of rioting in the North."Nonviolence, according to King, did not mean non-resistance to evil. "Passive cooperation with an unjust system makes the oppressed as vicious as the oppressor," he emphasized.At a time when Montgomery's Negroes had a new leader, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) claimed to be the principal spokesman for Negro interests in the country. Founded in 1910, this oldest Negro organization was founded by moderate Negro bourgeois, supported by white liberals and condescending attention of the federal government. The NAACP was closely allied with the Democratic Party and campaigned for its candidates in elections. The association sought to overturn segregation through the courts - through court decisions declaring segregation unconstitutional. At the initiative of the NAACP, after much litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools was issued in 1954. It was hailed as a historic milestone, but it soon became clear that the effect of the decision was more psychological than practical. Ten years later, in 1964, only one percent of Negro children in Southern states attended desegregated schools, and Mississippi had no such Negro students. The reality of the system that entrenched racism possessed the ultimate "constitutionality."The NAACP was accused of the untenable doctrine of "tokenism, "* that is, of seeking symbolic, essentially unchanging handouts that could only give the Negro masses the illusion of change.By the mid-fifties, the Negro movement (if it could be called a movement at all) was in a clear crisis: there was no progress on civil rights, and waiting was no longer an option. Rights had to be taken, not begged for; and to take them, the masses had to be galvanized.The crisis of faith in the possibility of making progress by constitutional means gave rise to extreme currents. The most popular were the "Black Muslims," surrounded by a veil of secrecy. Their "prophet" Elijah Muhammad, headquartered in Chicago, converted his supporters to the Muslim faith, preached "black supremacy," that is, racism inside out, declaring all whites "devils." He saw no point in integrating with the "devils" and put forward a fantastic variant of creating an independent Negro state on the territory of the USA, and talked about terrorizing "white America".King rejected the doctrine of "Black Muslims" as he did the doctrine of "Tokenism." Later, characterizing the early years of his struggle, he wrote: "Some called for a colossal bloodbath to purge the nation's veil. In defending and encouraging violence, they pointed to a historical tradition going from Spartacus in Rome to the American Civil War. But the Negro in the South in 1955, assessing the strength of the forces assembled against him, could not see even the slightest prospect of victory with this approach. He was unarmed, unorganized, untrained, uncoordinated, and-most important of all-psychologically and morally unprepared for the conscious shedding of blood. Although desperation gave him the courage to die for freedom if necessary, he was not prepared to condemn himself to racial suicide without the prospect of victory."King saw his way to mobilize the masses. Realizing that segregation could not be overturned by court decisions, King stormed it with mass marches, boycotts, sit-ins. He went into open, frontal, though nonviolent, confrontation with racists, deliberately creating crises and tensions in the racist South. Tensions he called "creative" because blacks, by dramatically demonstrating their * Tokenism was the practice of making small symbolic concessions that left the foundations of racial segregation intact.demands and intransigence, were to create a new climate in interracial relations, and crises were a means to move toward negotiations to abolish unjust laws and practices of segregation, negotiations backed by mass action. He emphasized "direct action" and chose the arena of confronting racism in full view of the nation and the world-the streets and squares of American cities, large and small.The road always begins with the first step. Taking that first step in Montgomery, Martin Luther King didn't yet know how long it was.So Rosa Parks and 50,000 Montgomery blacks could take the front seats on the buses, though unkind stares forced them to huddle in the old-fashioned way, and in the evenings, there were occasional shots fired at the integrated buses. But at the entrances to restaurants, cafeterias, motels, and parks, signs hung as before: "Whites Only."In December 1961, five years after the famous boycott, on my first visit to the South, at the Elite Café in Montgomery, I saw a sign announcing that the owners reserved the right to refuse service to anyone. "Anyone" meant any Negro.It was during this trip that I made my introduction to King in absentia. And face-to-face - with the mores of the American South. I want to tell you more about it. There will be no Lynch trials in my story - even American journalists are not invited to them. Nothing enticingly scary. Just a fleeting excursion into the psychology of Southerners.SOUTHERN EXCURSIONI was then quite new to America - a New Yorker and a half months old. New York overwhelmed me with its rigid pace and diverse, excessive, as it seemed, mass of houses, people, cars, goods. With helplessness I was aware that this city could not be summed up, juxtaposed, synthesized. On rainy fall days, when cars rustled sharper and sadder on the asphalt, and mushrooms of large black umbrellas opened over the heads of pedestrians, this impression was strengthened.I came to New York after three years of correspondent work in Cairo. It was easier to live and work there, calmer. The essence of New York was more difficult to feel, it seemed to be drowned in the self-indulgent pace of this city, in the paradox of a huge mass of people, huddled here only to make everyone feel their loneliness more acutely. But one thing these two different cities had in common was the inclusions of dark-skinned people in the crowd. In Cairo it was mainly Sudanese, in New York it was Negroes.I lived on the corner of 87th Street and Park Avenue back then. Harlem didn't start far away, at a hundredth of a street. Harlem was near, but it was separate, and at first I was struck by the merciless self-criticism of Americans who called Harlem by the horrible and hopeless word - ghetto. There are no walls, barbed wire, SS men and sheepdogs around Harlem, it physically merges with the rest of Manhattan. Nevertheless, it was routinely referred to as the ghetto.On rainy days, I would duck into the dreary, wet maw of the subway at 86th Street and Lexington Avenue to go downtown, and the cars would be packed with Harlem residents boarding in the hundredth street area. In the filthy subway, in this New York underworld, I glanced around at the people who had withdrawn into themselves, already mesmerized by the fractional, frantic pounding of the wheels. In the underworld, which was rushing along the rickety rails beneath the foundations of the houses, which had risen to countless, the highest floors in the world. These minutes were full of some inexpressible revelation.2 S. N. Kondrashov A stranger in a city that is so difficult at first, I felt an emotional kinship with these people because-it was so obvious-they were strangers there, too. It was as if they were revealing their secret about New York, the unspoken secret that belonged in the subway. I knew, of course, about the Negroes of Harlem, but that was newspaper and book knowledge, and how important is the first, however small, heartfelt experience of your own, when in a foreign environment you are still floundering, tumbling, as if in a state of weightlessness. But I also felt another thing - that there was no reciprocity, that a psychological barrier was growing between us, that I was white for them - and that was it.At first, American blacks were for me a mass without heroes and personalities. That is, of course, there were heroes and personalities, but, let's be honest, do we know about them when we look at America from afar?How many of them were there, heroes and martyrs of black America, flashed by comets in newspaper accounts of "racist atrocities" and extinguished the day after by readers' memories?What does the name Malcolm X tell us, for example? He chose this extravagant "X," renouncing the family name Little because it was not his own, because once black slaves were shipped namelessly to America and labeled by slave masters. Malcolm labeled himself X, and the true magnitude of the rapidly growing X remained unidentified - at the age of forty, he was murdered at a Harlem rally. Having started his life's journey not as well as King - a desperate criminal - this rare nugget then rushed to the "black Muslims" and quickly became the right hand of the mysterious and envious "prophet" Elijah Mohammed. Then, realizing that the path of the "Black Muslims" was a path to yet another dead end, Malcolm broke with the "prophet." He matured by leaps and bounds into the most popular leader of Negro youth in the northern ghettos. In his frequent metamorphoses, he could see growth in both breadth and depth; rejecting the spiritual self-isolation of "black Muslims," he was bridging the gap from oppressed blacks to oppressed whites, coming closer to recognizing the Negro movement in the United States as part of the world revolutionary process. Many saw in him the potential of a great revolutionary, combining passion, dedication, and a sober mind. The more he whipped America's ills with his speeches, the more the "big press" criticized him. In February 1965, he was killed by a fanatic from the "black Muslims" - in broad daylight, at a mass meeting. "Big Malcolm" is remembered in the black ghettoes, but for white America, he faded into oblivion - it is difficult, and no need to make posthumous sensations.In my first days as a New York correspondent, I realized, of course, that I would also write on the Negro theme. It was profitable - what an inappropriate word! - and so it became a duty. There was already a caustic anecdote about a short but dynamic dialog between an American and a Soviet man. "How much on average does your engineer get?" - the American asked. And our man, noticing the catch, would knock the provocateur out with a retort: "And you have Negroes being lynched...".The anecdote was not much in demand, but it expressed a maximalist argument: "you have Negroes being lynched". Such arguments are vulnerable. One extreme is easily refuted by the other. A comrade of mine, who came briefly across the ocean to discover America for himself, said to me at the time: "We write about Negroes. This is bad, that is bad. And I saw Negroes riding in Cadillacs..."So what's happening to the Negroes? Are they being lynched or are they riding around in Cadillacs? The false wisdom of easy generalizations is born as a reaction to stamped words that turn true pain and complexity into a suicidal truism - that's what's happening.Ilya Ehrenburg's perceptive notes on America, where he visited in 1946, have one touch. After New York, the Americans hosting the three Soviet writers suggested they go to any part of the States. Ehrenburg chose the South. He guessed where to look for the touchstone of America, where the question of justice is decided. About the American character. About the fate of a huge, self-righteous and self-critical, rebellious country.I appreciated the accuracy of his choice when in late December 1961, together with Vladimir Bogachev, a TASS correspondent and already an old-timer in America, I traveled to the South for a Christmas report on a Negro theme....The Washington train was approaching Chattanooga, a city lying on the border of Tennessee and Georgia. It was a misty, chilly dawn. The negro conductor got us up at seven o'clock in the morning, and we went out, shivering, into the vestibule of the last car. The vestibule was open, the rails snaking coldly out from under the wheels. A white conductor had recently boarded and was now asking our conductor about the weather in Washington. He was not looking at the Negro, but at the rails. The negro answered courteously and one-syllable: "Yes, sir...," "No, sir...."He was an old, well-built negro from the sleeping car conductors' union. The night before, he had played to the passengers the part of a gregarious, smashing Negro, half servant, half jester, who knew that gentlemen did not mind jesting if the jester kept his distance. He was not such a Negro, but he played this somewhat old-fashioned role, knowing that this was the kind of Negro image that the whites with whom he was accustomed to deal needed. He was like that tap-dancer on the bandstand-painted to look like a Negro, with too much black paint on his face and too white and thick lips. He deftly laid out the bed, brought water and ice, quipped, did not refuse a glass, and winked at us familiarly when he knocked it over.And in the morning, having brushed us in the car corridor, he stood in front of the conductor, courteous and not cheerful. Not because the cold dawn was sobering, but because the rails were snaking through the South.On the early Christmas morning the station square was melancholy and empty, except for half a dozen drunken people who were still awake. But the ubiquitous service of the car rental corporation Hertz was awake at the station, and its duty officer, having checked only the driver's license, having filled in the company form and without taking a cent in advance, handed us the keys to the cherry new "Chevrolet-61". And, having become temporary owners of the Chevrolet, we got freedom of maneuver in an unfamiliar city and drove through its empty streets, choosing which motel we would like - in Chattanooga and its district there were 97 hotels and motels ready to accept 3563 guests.It was my first acquaintance with the American country, and the ease with which we got a rental car without leaving the train was only the first of the wonders.In the Drake Motel we had the cleanest, most comfortable room with a TV set, a shiny washed bathroom and a nickel-plated shower head, which you can dose as you wish: you want a small rain, or a tight jet, almost like from a fire hose' a set of napkins and towels - at least a dozen for two people, glasses hygienically sealed in paraffin paper, clouds of fragrant soap, etc., etc., etc..Я взял телефоннную трубку и заказал Нью-Йорк, и трубку не пришлось вешать — разговор дали сразу же.Province? The Wild South?Chattanooga teased us with a thick concentrate of its civilization, cars, and service.All that remained of the Indians who once lived here was the strangely beautiful name of the place. Everything else came from modern America. The local directory gave figures that seemed incredible, though it was impossible to doubt them. There were 87,000 cars, 106,000 telephones, 3,942 million dollars in bank deposits, 9 television stations, 9 airlines, 32 flights a day, 9 bus lines with 230 flights a day, 500 industrial plants, 1,500 industrial products, and 6 million broiler chickens a week.It was a province, but an American province."The Hertz Chevrolet, the modernity of the Drake Motel, the abundance of cars and broiler chickens imposed their own conditions, and in some unexpected and seemingly unnecessary way intruded on the intentions of two correspondents who had come for a story about the wild, racist South. We had been brought up to respect statistics and that facts are stubborn things, and by stubbornness of facts I meant that they were unambiguous. And here we had 6 million broiler chickens to go along with 60 percent of unemployed miners and 100 closed coal mines out of 200 that existed a decade ago.Fred Hixon, political columnist for the Chattanooga Daily Times, threw all the colorful figures in front of us, and we embarrassedly accepted them, but kept our eyes on the goal and tried to make our way through the broiler chickens to the Chattanooga Negroes, who made up - another figure rolled in front of us - 39 percent of the city's population.Fred Hickson had a smart look in his eyes, his lips significantly tightened, with the instinct of a man who had given thirty-two years to the newspaper business, he realized where his colleagues were going. He took a philosophical tone.- There is no racial problem in Chattanooga," he said, "but there is a practice of segregation. And it's a natural thing, isn't it? And in the Soviet Union you don't let everyone into your house. Why should you demand that an American fraternize with a Negro?Then Fred Hickson went on to broader strokes.- Human nature is the same everywhere," he admonished. "Human emotions are the same everywhere - Chattanooga, Moscow, Leningrad, New York.His racism had a philosophical carpet pad of universal morality, and it seemed to him that from this material one could build such a tower from which it would be easy to look over the whole world, to explain everything for everyone, and to connect Chattanooga with Leningrad* And he wanted to accept us as accomplices who could not but profess the natural laws of human society. But, however, his explanation was not over yet.- No country has the right to enslave people," Fred Hickson went on to say, "Negroes have made an outstanding contribution to our country. Maybe they laid this floor (and he stroked the floor with the toe of his boot). Maybe they made this desk (and he tapped the top of his desk with his knuckles).So is he a racist? By habit, laid down from childhood, one wanted either negative or positive, but definite, and Fred Hickson defied the usual categorization, he turned one side or the other.O holy naivete and impatience of a simpleton in a hurry to discover America and every American in it!Meanwhile our new acquaintance turned to history, to the year 1836, when the treaty that deceived the Chattanooga Indians was signed, and now appeared as a direct denouncer of his country's past.- It was," he said, "a treaty of which we are not very proud. It was barbaric times.These words were quotable, but Fred Hickson returned to the Negroes of today's Chattanooga and said that there was a Negro working in their newsroom - he glanced around at the people sitting at the tables in the large "newsroom" but did not find the man he was looking for - writing about Negro affairs.One Negro... We could have asked why one, when there are two for every five inhabitants in the city. But we did not go into arithmetic and accuse Mr. Hickson of "tokenism," for I did not know the word and the logic it contained: if a hundred Negroes have Cadillacs, then a million Negroes are happy, and if one Negro reporter works for a newspaper, then its publisher has put away the sin of segregation from his soul.But why does he write about Negro affairs, Mr. Hixon?And Mr. Hickson wondered at the absurdity of the question. "It's natural," he shielded himself with a favorite phrase. - Who knows Negro affairs better? If we had a Russian working for us, he'd be doing Russian business.- But pardon me, Mr. Hickson, this negro is not only a negro, he's an American....Yes, he is an American, but first of all he is a Negro, and Mr. Hickson inadvertently gave himself away by referring to the Negro reporter as a Negro and not as an American. But did he give himself away? He did not lurk and answered as he thought, and it was in his blood - there are just Americans and there are American Negroes. It is in the blood of a liberal Southerner in a liberal newspaper who would resent being called a racist - he knows better than you who racists are!Christmas evening came early and quickly to December Chattanooga. After dinner in the restaurant of the Drake Motel, where the Chattanooga bourgeois, all white, sat soberly, softly, and boringly, Volodya Bogachyev took the wheel of the Chevrolet, and we drove off in search of another, Negro Chattanooga.There was not a soul in the central, commercial streets of Broad and Market Streets. Garlands of multicolored lights, white Zmerican five-pointed stars, and red Christmas bells burned beautifully and coldly. In the illuminated windows of closed stores, merchandise lavished lavishly, confirming Mr. Hickson's figures. The sprawling plazas of shopping malls and food supermarkets were relegated to the inexpensive land of the suburbs. And along the highway, here and there, under awnings and without, stood hundreds of cars for sale, seemingly homeless because no people could be seen, used but seemingly brand-new and gleaming enticingly under the streetlights.In the cold neon twilight, in the unaccustomed desolation of the pre-holiday streets, as if cleared by the inhabitants so as not to distract the attention of the two unexpected guests, Chattanooga vividly unfolded before us the prosperity of the American province, which, of course, lacks the material sophistication and even satiety of New York, but which, in terms of goods, has long ago and firmly eliminated the contradictions with the big cities.but which, in terms of goods, had long ago and firmly eliminated the contradictions with the big cities.Then we got into another Chattanooga.On East 8th Street we saw old and poor wooden houses with small porches. And in each shack-deep in the verandahs, in the windows-there were little green wreaths, and in front of them red lights and electric candles praising Christ. They blinked sadly and peacefully, and their scanty light penetrated the dark street. Somehow it occurred to me that these must have been the hidden lights of the persecuted early Christians.There were no signs, but we realized we had entered Negro Chattanooga.We stopped the car and walked. The Christmas lights twinkled unobtrusively, carrying a timid hope. There were rare passersby. Human figures floated out of the darkness, dark faces blending with dark clothes. Our white faces were like warning signs to them: beware, strangers! It was felt that brown people do not walk here, especially in the evenings, when the darkness physically reinforces the isolation of the two races. Yes, We were the only whites in this Negro Chattanooga. Except for Clark Gable. The movie actor Clark Gable was the poster boy for whiteness. He had recently died, and the posthumous Clark Gable business was in full swing.The poor house lights and black faces that floated out of the gloom silently contrasted with the audience at the Drake Motel and Fred Hickson's Olympian musings about it all being natural. From them flowed, transmitted to us, the unhappiness, the resignation, the hopelessness that has existed since the world existed but has never been natural.Is it natural to recognize unhappiness, suffering, humiliation?I remember the anxiety in the lilac gloom and the twinkling Christmas lights. It grew out of our isolation in those Negro streets, out of the sudden consciousness that we were doing something unauthorized, that we were transgressing the line of an unwritten but authoritative law, and to this consciousness was added wariness and the desire to have a pair of extra, not at all superfluous eyes on the back of our heads.I can't forget that anxiety, because it was repeated so many times both in the evening and even during the day on the streets of dozens of Harlem, which I then had to see in dozens of cities.A pre-Christmas Chattanooga evening taught a newcomer to America the art of feeling. People with dark faces hurried past, and I realized that talking to them was impossible, if you will, even unconscionable, because we were white to them, period. To the understandable wariness that a stranger evokes were added the barriers of a race that had long ago been taught not to confess but to disguise itself to another race. We were not looked upon as strangers who might or might not be liked or disliked. No, we were looked upon as members of an alien, hostile, dangerous species that did not need to be individually vetted-it had been done long ago, and you, the white man who found himself on the streets of Chattanooga Harlem, were somehow responsible and blamed for all that had been done for centuries by white men not of your own country, of very different views, but who had insidiously compromised you by the color of your skin. It was as if these rushing black people were warning us that our attempts to know the American South would never be completely successful because the soul of the American Negro was closed to whites, and how could we know the South without knowing that soul?Three centuries of history that began in 1619, when the first shipload of black slaves from Africa came to the American South, was presenting its bill on the evening of December 24, 1961, and you somehow had to pay it, sensing the distrust, the bewilderment, the question that was in the eyes of oncoming Chattanooga Negroes. In them, as in Fred Hickson, sat the damned, ineradicable division between whites and blacks, between Americans and American Negroes, and I would hardly be wrong in saying that even in a fleeting encounter on the street, in a bar, in some office or movie theater, almost every black American reacts to a white American, to a white stranger, to a white American with an unconscious spark of distrust that flashes through the brain. And vice versa. And this field of racial tension, usually a hidden field, is so strong in America that even a foreigner cannot help but feel it. This field not only divides but also binds white and black Americans, they are constantly, though in different ways, present in each other's minds, they reach out to each other because black America wants to know white America. And vice versa. These danger signals are mutual.Of course, there are different white and different black Americans, but in the mass they are divided and cannot fully understand each other. They can't, but they want to, and then they attempt unusual, almost circus-like stunts like the one attempted by journalist Griffin. He got a special composition of paint, changed into a Negro, traveled through the South in this form, went through some, by no means all, of the everyday circles of black hell, cursed himself more than once for this devilishly risky experiment, felt more than once that his life hung in the balance, experienced an animal fear of racists incomprehensible to the white man, became infected with the hatred of blacks for "Mr. Charlie" - as blacks call whites in the South - and published in the early 60's honest sensational book "Black Like Me".We had not stocked up on that paint, and besides, we were in plain sight, traveling on a route approved by the State Department, with dates and roads agreed upon in advance, and two cars with three FBI agents hanging on our tail as soon as Christmas was over. Two green "fords" followed us, and high antennas of radio transmitters gave away their special purpose. One of the agents, a gray-haired man with the noble profile of a Desikkian movie hero, my comrade nicknamed the Count. The other two had no special features. The Graf was obviously a senior and rode alone. When we stopped to eat in a cafe or restaurant, they parked their cars next to ours and entered, innocently averting their eyes, but choosing a table with a good view. When we rented a motel room for the night, they were behind the wall and in the morning they would talk loudly, make noise, go out to their cars, check the engines, letting us know that the work day had begun and it was time to start, to savor the sweet sensation of speed.We followed strictly the route, but one night we inadvertently missed the right turn and braked on an empty dark highway, and then one pair of lighted headlights froze behind our car, and another pair sped ahead and also froze - they took us in a fork and waited for what would happen next. They were ready for anything. But we only prosaically turned around, and the two Fords - in front and behind our car - turned around too, and the front one took us to the right road.We talked to them absentmindedly.- It's okay, guys," Volodya said, "you won't be lost with us. We won't go anywhere from you.When, having arrived in a new city, we left the car, they had to turn into stompers, into pedestrian detectives. They didn't like that.- It can't be helped, guys. We're gonna have to walk. We got work to do, too.We had grown accustomed to them and fervently fantasized about how, at the end of our trip, they would start writing memos and speaking at exchange meetings with the instructional message "On the Tail of the Reds.To break away from them would be useless and risky, FBI agents will always find a way to punish the disobedient, and even a minimal punishment like a nail in the front tire already promises trouble. But in general, they hindered our work by building up an already high barrier of suspicion. What Negro, a Negro in Georgia or Alabama, would be open with whites on the street - with strangers, foreigners, incomprehensible whites - if behind their car there were two green Fords with high antennas, two very understandable Fords with understandable people.In short, we were taught the ABCs of the South by moderate, respectable white Southerners, famous for their gentlemanly manners and hospitality.There was something pastoral about the quiet red hills of Georgia, the concrete ribbons of roads running through the December forests, the cardboard Christmas stars and bells on the streets of cozy towns that hid their hushed harlems in backyards. Strongly, softly, and smoothly carried us in a rented Chevrolet; familiar and caring were the voices of radio announcers reminding motorists that other Christmases lay ahead and that -- be careful! drive carefully! - death, alas, has no holidays and no weekends. And I also experienced for the first time the quiet, peaceful idyll of Christmas carols, and from the persistent advertising I learned about the miraculous canned food "dash", which will neither make American dogs fat nor thin, and together with a given weight will keep their canine vigor; "dash" is the perfect Christmas gift for the four-legged friend of mankind!Oh, how charming is the Drake Motel, the first American motel to shelter yours truly! The first, but not the last Southern motel where I was plugged into the conspiracy against black American citizens. It didn't even have a "Whites Only" sign, but blacks weren't welcome -- private property laws were presented as a defense of racism. A foreigner, and a "red" one at that, you got all the rights that a black American was denied. You found yourself on the other -- the better and more comfortable -- side of the racial barrier, and once there, you were embarrassed to look into the eyes of the Negro woman who cleaned your room. What could you do? Sleep on the street? In a Negro motel, you'd be totally misunderstood.In Rome, Georgia, a town of 32,000 people that died out on Christmas Day, in the center of the city, near the police and fire departments, there was a monument to a she-wolf with Romulus and Remus clinging to her teats: "Rome to the New - Rome Eternal" was embossed on the monument, which was given to the city in 1929 by Benito Mussolini. After that, American blood was spilled in Italy, and the Duce was hung upside down, to the delight of Americans, but Rome, Georgia, keeps the gift of the executed dictator. Like its famous counterpart, it stands on seven hills, which, in fact, is what it owes its name to. We have not counted these hills, but for the Roman negroes we have evidently found an eighth, an additional one - they lived as outcasts.The restaurant of the Central Forrest Hotel was the sweaty boredom of an American Christmas dinner in the afternoon. There were no Negroes even among the waiters; they merely brought up the clean dishes and took away the dirty ones. In the rooms the black color was present in two forms-in the black binding of the indispensable bible and in the Negro cleaning ladies. A young white woman, Joan, was on duty behind the lobby counter. Her husband is a bus driver, her father is a gas company employee, and her mother works in a textile factory. Joan's one-and-a-half-year-old daughter was being cared for by a "colored" woman, and this Southern family was on the bottom rung of the social ladder.At the Chamber of Commerce, where we hurried the next morning, when the festivities were over and the townspeople were once again living under the slogan "business as usual," the manager, Mr. Collins, overcoming the initial confusion, informed us that there were 820 Roman businessmen who were members of the Chamber and that there was not a single Negro among them. His explanation was disarming: there are simply no Negroes who own businesses.Not far from Rome there is a General Electric Company plant - a thousand workers, engineers, technicians. Negroes can be counted on their fingers. If earnings are high, the administration can attract and prefers white workers.From Rome to La Grange is 94 miles south. The farther south, the more immutable the segregation. In La Grange, a town of 26,000, blacks were segregated from whites in schools, hospitals, the bus station, and the service industry. Only the stores accepted whites and blacks: dollars don't smell.We were standing at the door of the bus station when the Greyhound express bus pulled up, a comfortable behemoth with a hound's image emblazoned on its nickel-plated sides. The whites got off first, then the blacks - they rode in the back. An elderly Negro woman got off the bus and headed for the station's main entrance, looked inside and recoiled - there was a section for whites. After orienting herself, she found her door with a sign that read "Colored Only." The white section was three or four times the size of the Negro section, more comfortable, cleaner, brighter, with a front entrance. In the Negro section sat three soldiers and a Negro officer - American citizens in the state military service. The state, having taken them into the army, had entrusted them with the protection of its interests, but there, at the bus station in La Grange, it could not protect their human dignity.It's one thing to hear and read about these things, it's another to see them. They are so unnatural that it seems easy to dismiss them. But when you, curious as you are, merely look into the dreary colored section, and not your nostrils but your eyes and nerves catch the odors of humiliation, isolation, and insensate resignation in the atmosphere of the room, when you meet the bewildered, anxious gaze of the Negroes, and when you feel the prickly, probing gaze of the white man at your back, you feel uneasy.You want to be just a man, and you are told that you are a white man and that you are lucky for life because you were born of white parents, that you are very lucky because you were born in a country where there are no blacks at all, and therefore you could not be black at all. You would like to stand between these two doors, between these two signs, and in English, without being embarrassed by the pronunciation, the errors of which the language laboratory of the Moscow Institute of International Relations has never been able to eliminate, loudly proclaim the banal truth that all people are born equal. Truths that first officially sounded from the American shore - from the pages of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the truths laid between the hard black covers of the Bible, which you had time to read before going to bed in Georgia motels and listen to on TV at Christmas time. But there is no equality and brotherhood, but skin color that has divided Christians in life and in the graves of La Grange's segregated cemeteries. Is it not with the dream of the segregated gates of heaven that white Southerners go to those graves?They have their own view of the natural and the unnatural. Segregation is natural and therefore, from their point of view, is not a problem. Problems arise when Negroes oppose segregation. In Rome, we were told that relations between whites and "colored" people were normal. Why? "Coloreds" are only 15 percent, and they prefer to keep quiet. In La Grange, Mr. Crowe, the editor of the local paper, explained that he would have to get serious about segregation if the "freedom raiders" who fought against segregation on the bus lines in those days showed up in town. In doing so, he considered himself more liberal than "typical Southerners." Southern liberals are uncomfortable, even ashamed, to make eye contact with foreigners asking sensitive questions. But one woman in La Grange was disgusted by reservations and streamlining. And when asked directly, Mrs. Newscam answered directly:- Yes, we're all southerners. Yes, we are in favor of segregation.And then I explained that position with an example of my cook:- I've had her for twenty-two years. I love and respect her, and my children are like family to her. But I want her to know her place, and I want us to know our place.How Mrs. Newscam blushed, how embarrassed she became, but she did not retreat, did not give up her candor. And having said her piece, she got up, hurried away, apologized to Mr. Crowe, and left the room, still muttering that the cook was like her own, that she was paying for her treatment and helping her in every possible way, but that "colored people" must know their place. It was evident that she loved her cook and had become akin to her in her own way / Can't a baron love a serf and a master a dog? He only reserves to himself the right not only to mercy but also to anger, and the right to alternate between the two. "Coloreds" must know their place - that is the threat and paternalism of the South, and in that, by the way, they see the happiness of "coloreds".In Columbus, Mr. Edge Reed, editor of the Columbus paper, painted a moderately optimistic picture.- We've avoided the race riots we had in Albany, Georgia, and Montgomery, Alabama," Mr. Reed said, "but our people are determined segregationists. Take our airfield, for instance. The signs have been removed, but there might be a fight if a Negro entered the white man's room. True, I once saw a Negro sitting in the same room with a white man, and there was a relatively small space between them.- They managed to desegregate the city bus. Now they sometimes sit together. Even sometimes whites in the back and Negroes in the front. I've seen it myself. I haven't seen it myself, but they say so.- We're thinking of desegregating the cafeterias in January, but a lot depends on the behavior of the Negroes. It's important that they don't push, that they act gradually.- There were three Negro cops. But all were charged with theft and fired.The population of Columbus was then 117,000, of whom 42 percent were Negroes.So we drove for a week along the roads and towns of Georgia and Alabama, and the bars of the high special antennas swayed elastically behind us, and the agents in green Fords already knew that the two red reporters would definitely go to the editorial offices of the local newspapers, and then, having examined the main streets, they would find, they would definitely find those neighborhoods, where the ceremonial, polished, sleepy-peaceful face of America disappeared, where rubble replaced asphalt, neat green lawns disappeared near the houses, and the houses themselves were not houses - shabby boarded-up buildings, sometimes upholstered in tol, sometimes with their wooden supports resembling huts on chicken legs.And before Montgomery, where our route ended, we stopped at the tiny town of Tuskegee, Alabama.We got there at night and at first we could not understand where the Broad or Main Street was, lit up at night and without which no even the smallest American town can do without. The morning dispelled the darkness and bewilderment. We found both Main Street and a town square with a public garden, and in the public garden a bronze Confederate soldier stood firmly on a pedestal.The history of the American Civil War leaves no room for ambiguity: the Northerners defeated the Southerners and freed the Negroes from slavery. But contrary to history, the bronze soldier stood undefeated, and two descendants of the freed Negroes trimmed the green lawn at his feet. And a bunch of Negroes basked in the sunlight, leaning against the wall of the "Colored People Only" grocery store - even in late December, it's warm in the deep Alabama South. In the drugstore, in spite of history, Negroes and Northerners who had returned to the North a hundred years ago, they were selling postcards on which the Confederate flag was flying victoriously and Dixieland, the blessed South, the promised land of American slaveholders, was glorious. And the courthouse, which stood there on the square, was empty and gloomy, the eye wandering among the familiar signs that told exactly where the whites belonged and where the "colored" belonged. Only the door of the sheriff's room did not bear this stigma: a negro could not then be sheriff in Tuskegee. When we saw the two white strangers, the men with the sheriff's stars on their chests and pistols at their sides were wary, and when we introduced ourselves, the chief did not speak, turned away, and rudely made it clear that this was not a talkative editorial office, and that not every white man had an honorable place here....Tuskegee was frozen in a lazy half-slumber. The only thing missing from the complete idyll was the cry of the rooster. Dixieland lay like a postcard: the sky was blue, the trees and grass were green, the soldier cast a tarnished bronze. Everything was so, and everything was a mirage and a deception. The world, like everywhere else in the South. split into only two colors.The first floor of a small house on the edge of the square was occupied by the editorial office of the Tuskegee News. Behind a desk piled with newspapers sat a full-figured elderly woman. She and her husband owned the Tuskegee News, a paper with a circulation of 1,500 copies.The woman's name was Mrs. Fisher. A mother and housewife with a motherly and homemaker appearance. The talkativeness of an American woman, the kind of woman who gets carried away by idle so-called social activities. The frankness of a man who knows his beliefs are shared by others.- Yeah, Tuskegee has a population of 1,700. For every white man, there are five or six colored men. We Southerners don't like Negroes as a race. Of course, we like some colored people. We meet them on the streets, in the stores. But to invite them home, to visit, God forbid! There's more of them, but we run this city and county. Yes, the supreme court allowed them to register as voters. But just imagine if they all voted! The horror! You'd end up with blacks running the city. And they're uneducated. Of course, we couldn't allow that. It wasn't easy to find a way out. But we did, because our future was at stake. We changed the boundaries of the city, and the Negroes disappeared from the voter rolls. They were outraged. They boycotted the newspaper, the stores. But, thank God, everything's all right so far...How enviously simple everything is in the world of ingenuous Mrs. Fisher, simpler than counting to ten. One is greater than six if one is white and six are Negroes. Yes, and Negroes, in her opinion, accept this arithmetic and only troublemakers want to disturb the peace of Tuskegee, communist troublemakers. Yes, yes, they are here too, Mrs. Fisher was sure of it.She spoke very sincerely, and there was no hypocrisy about her at all.O triumphant power of ignorance, doubly sure of its rightness when it is collective!If nature has given you a white skin, and society has given you a ready-made set of views, a group morality, and an antipode to make you feel that you are the hereditary owner of the ultimate truth, you deprive yourself of the sacred right to doubt, without which there is no development, no forward movement. From the cradle to the grave you are killed by the automatic consciousness of automatic superiority over people of other races and other views, and whatever this or that "black monkey" does, whatever heights of knowledge and spirit he storms, you are sure that he will never reach the Olympus to which you were elevated by the simple fact of being born white.But come one moment, you will wake up in a cold sweat from this deceptive lingering dream of the waking hours, because, in the exact words of the Negro writer James Baldwin, "the black man functions in the white man's world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar, and when he moves from his seat, heaven and earth will be shaken to their foundations."So far the moment of awakening had not come for Mrs. Fisher, who had joined our collection of Southern matrons.I remembered Mrs. Fisher well with her candor and conviction. I remembered her by contrast because of a close neighbor of the Tuskegee News. In fact, this neighbor made this backwoods Alabama town famous. The neighbor was called Tuskegee Institute and was known as one of the largest, oldest and most respected Negro institutions of higher learning in the United States. It had 2400 Negro students at the time, and there were perhaps more Negro professors with advanced degrees than white citizens of Tuskegee.We found Mr. Trout at the institute, who was in charge of press relations, and he drove our Chevrolet to Dr. Foster, the president of the Tuskegee Institute. And behind him - Mr. Trout could see him in the review mirror - a Ford with a high antenna was following unerringly behind. (There was only one Alabama Ford this time; Graf and both of his subordinates had left us at the Georgia border in the care of Alabama FBI agents.) Mr. Trout cast glances in the mirror, at first perplexed, then, realizing the point, alarmed, but the Ford did not disappear from these glances; it was a reality, not an obsession. In the President's reception room, Mr. Trout did his best to hide his anxiety and embarrassment, but he did not succeed completely, and then he again twirled in his hands our credentials issued by the New York Foreign Correspondents Center and asked:- So, you are from TASS? And you are from Izvestia? So... So...And he would look out the window, at the parking lot, where, as an identifying sign, the special antenna of a green Ford, in which a man of a specific profession, accustomed to expectations, sat calmly, patiently, was sitting.And, tearing his gaze away from the window, Mr. Trout was again turning our papers with longing and, forgetting himself, asked again:- So, you're from Izvestia? And you're from TASS?He was afraid. We had come and gone, and he was destined to remain in the strange world of the ignorant and self-righteous Mrs. Fisher and her like, who had already invented "Communist troublemakers" in Tuskegee and could now present our visit as fresh incontrovertible evidence. Mrs. Fisher, among all her other privileges, generously given by the fact of being born in the South of white parents, had the privilege of chatting with the Reds without fear-she was above suspicion. And a Negro, however docile he may be, inspires suspicion because he was born a Negro; he is seen as a potential oppositionist, and suspicion may increase if he communicates with Soviet Communists.Dr. Foster, an elderly, dignified Negro who received us in a substantial, dusky office with carpets and leather armchairs, was calm, poised, and with mild irony referred to the Mrs. Fisher he knew as a "philosopher." He gave the impression of a very educated, big-thinking man who understood everything and everyone, and perhaps it was in this understanding of everything that the strength and vulnerability of his wisdom lay, which knows how strong the old roots are, and therefore is not very inclined to believe in radical action and rapid change. However, he noted the tendency to change for the better and assured us that all would be well "if this tendency met with no resistance".- The whites," he said, "are concerned and anxious that the blacks should not take over the city. This is natural, but these feelings will change.He was ashamed of the paradoxes of Tuskegee. His colleague Dr. Kennedy couldn't get a cup of coffee in a run-down city café. Dr. Kennedy is a Negro, director of a hospital for Negro war veterans next to the Institute. The 2,000-bed hospital is owned by the federal Veterans Administration. Its monetary annual turnover was nine million dollars, and if dollars are to be counted, the hospital brings the most revenue to the coffers of Macoun County, in whose territory Tuskegee lies.And so Dr. Kennedy must "know his place" at Tuskegee, his humiliating place, and it was hardly a consolation to him that this place was next to that of Dr. Foster and scores of other Negroes, Ph.D.'s and Bachelor of Arts. Dr. Foster was in charge of over two thousand students, many of whom would leave Tuskegee with teaching credentials. And looming over him are the semi-literate sheriff and Mrs. Fisher, who to two foreign strangers habitually explains her hatred of Negroes "as a race." Mr. Trout looks wistfully at the high radio antenna of his green Ford, and his chief talks with tired wisdom about Tuskegee paradoxes, because you can't beat the shoe with a whip, and you won't end up flaming with impotent indignation all your life. One must somehow live and adapt, and patiently wait for changes in a world like Mrs. Fisher's.And behind it all is not just a long history, but a philosophy not very flattering to Tuskegee Negroes. The story goes back to 1880, when the white namesake of the institute's president, Confederate Col. W. F. Foster was running for the Alabama state legislature and needed the votes of Negro voters. (One of the longstanding paradoxes of the South is that there were more Negro voters in the second half of the nineteenth century-just after the Civil War-than there were in the early part of the second half of the twentieth century.)) He offered a deal to Lewis Adams: the latter was to "deliver" to the former the votes of the Negroes of Macoun County; for this the former promised in appropriations to the Brahlis, and the first two thousand dollars were set aside for a school, which was founded in 1881 and which later became the famous Tuskegee Institute. Booker Washington, one of the most famous Negroes in the history of the United States, was invited to be principal of the school. A gifted educator, he defended the idea of artisanal training for Negroes. Booker Washington's crowning speech, delivered in Atlanta in 1895, is mentioned even in American encyclopedias. He called it foolishness to fight for political and social equality until the Negroes were economically ready for it. In fact, he proposed a compromise: Negroes would stop demanding social and political equality if those in power would create opportunities for them for apprenticeship. The racist South accepted this idea with a sigh of relief, and wealthy Northern industrialists promised financial aid to Negro schools if they followed Booker Washington's advice.Different was the attitude toward Booker Washington's ideas of a portion of the Negro intelligentsia. The great William Dubois declared that these ideas would condemn the Negro to second-class citizenship, second-class education, and second-class job opportunities.Booker Washington, favored by white America, headed the Tuskegee Institute until 1915, until his death, and his precepts made themselves felt in the behavior of the Negroes of Macoun County until recently. Although - a rare occurrence even in the South - Negroes made up 84 percent of the population here, and Tuskegee Institute was famous for its talented scientific and administrative staff, Negro leaders, fearful of provoking racists, refused on principle to encroach on the existing political and economic dominance of the white minority.This partly explained the shameful fact that as late as December 1961, Dr. Foster and Dr. Kennedy, two of the most dignified men in the area, could be openly humiliated by the owners of both a local cafe and a motel four miles outside of town, even though we foreigners were allowed into the motel without a mute skin color pass.There have been many zigzags in Tuskegee's microhistory. One, quite a long time ago, was that in 1901, the state of Alabama changed its constitution so much that there were virtually no Negro voters in Macoun County. A literacy requirement was introduced. To register as a voter, one had to read, recite, and explain the provisions of the U.S. or Alabama constitution, and explain in front of white registrars who usually disagreed with these explanations. The surety of two whites was also required, and how could they be found?After these constitutional innovations, the majority of the county's population was disenfranchised, which, however, did not actually contradict Booker Washington's teachings. This situation persisted for decades. In 1940, for example, there were only 29 blacks registered to vote in Macoun County. But when that number began to increase, reaching 855 in 1954, whites became concerned. Although for seventy-plus years the Tuskegee Negroes proved loyal and reluctant to aggravate relations, a racist white minority succeeded in 1957 in getting the Alabama state legislature to change Tuskegee's city limits so that 420 Tuskegee Negroes were removed from the voting rolls, leaving only ten.That was the triumph Mrs. Fisher told us of. And her words that "the Negroes accept this arithmetic" were not so wrong.Looking ahead, I will say that a few years later the arithmetic changed. A federal court decision restored Tuskegee's former city limits. In 1964, the number of Negroes registered voters in Macoun County exceeded the number of white voters. In 1966, there were already 6,803 Negroes and only 4,495 white Americans on the voter rolls. Negro voters were in the majority in Tuskegee itself as well. But some of their leaders remained wary of taking full advantage of it. It seems strange, but it was only against their opposition that a Negro, Luches Emerson, was elected sheriff of the county in 1966. The Tuskegee "Uncle Toms" campaigned for.... a white sheriff. On the Tuskegee City Council - again thanks to a feared policy of concessions - Negroes, who made up the majority of voters, won two seats, giving whites three.In the summer of 1965, students at Tuskegee Institute began a campaign for desegregation, staging sit-ins in "white" cafeterias, picketing stores, and entering "white" churches, where they were brutally beaten twice. And in January, student Sammy Young was shot and killed by a racist. The jury, white-only as always, acquitted the killer. Meanwhile, among some Tuskegee blacks, it was not so much the murder as the student demonstrations that sparked outrage. To some, the students were "radical street demonstrators losing control of themselves."Yes, there were and are Negroes who accept the arithmetic of white racists. Yes, there were and are Negroes who have stripped themselves of their sense of dignity, playing patriarchal fools and clowns to please white masters, because a person who is intelligent and internally strong is at greater risk. The three hundred year history of slavery and oppression cannot go unchallenged. And in general, only a thoughtless, naively sentimental view from afar can imagine that belonging to a social or racial group fighting for freedom and equality automatically endows every member of that group with the qualities of a perfect fighter.Like all men, they (Negroes) have different characters, different financial interests, and different aspirations," Martin Luther King noted, "There are Negroes who will never fight for freedom. There are Negroes who in the struggle seek only profit for themselves. There are even Negroes who will cooperate with their oppressors. These facts should not discourage --. Every nation has its share of opportunists, self-serving, spongers, and escapists.... It cannot be assumed that if a nation is oppressed, every individual is virtuous and worthy. The main question is whether the qualities of the prevailing mass are decency, honor, and courage."But it is time to put a stop to this protracted and perhaps tedious to the reader description of our excursion to the South, which practically ended at Tuskegee. From there we reached Montgomery, and from Montgomery we left for New York in a Delta Airlines airplane - all the seats were taken in that airplane except one, and that one, empty, was - guess what? - next to a Negro, the only Negro passenger. We left on December 30, New Year's Eve, the planes were full, and we only got tickets at the airport (I think not without the secret help of our FBI guardians, who were in a hurry to untie their hands for the holiday). And sitting on the plane, looking at the empty seat next to the Negro, I could appreciate the airline's diplomacy and even self-sacrifice - it could not segregate air traffic between segregated Montgomery and desegregated New York, but managed, by not finding a "paired" Negro and sacrificing one seat, to avoid an unpleasant racial conflict in the air.At the Montgomery airport we said goodbye to the Chevrolet that had served us faithfully without any red tape - I was pleasantly surprised that the clerk took our word for it and charged us for the "mileage" without even looking at the meter. And in the air terminal building, clean, bright and comfortable, the contrast between modern civilization and medieval manners again struck my eyes. There were two waiting rooms, one for whites and one for "colored" men, and, in addition, the builders, sparing no expense, had created two sets of lavatories: for white gentlemen and for "colored" men, for white ladies and for "colored" women.And while the airplane was drawing the Alabama sky, I was looking at the empty seat next to the Negro and the newspaper stand near the pilot's cabin, where the Bible was blackened like a Southern security certificate, and writing down my last impressions in my notebook.Now I regret that there are hardly any entries in this notebook about Montgomery. We were there less than twenty-four hours, toward the curtain. Established history often prevails over fluid modernity, and Booker Washington's Tuskegee Tuskegee overshadowed Montgomery for me, where Martin Luther King began his journey, saying once that Booker Washington's ideas may have given too little freedom to the Negroes of the time and carried too little hope for the future.King traveled a different road. All thirteen Southern states were already as familiar to him as his own five fingers, traveled and traveled in courageous "freedom raids." The weight of the baton on his back, the disgusting spit in his face - he had experienced it. The black pastor's suit had been torn with a crack under the police palm more than once, the piercing cold of the cement prison floor, the blue southern sky shaded by the caged prison bars. He already had three children, and every night carried danger back home in Atlanta, where he had moved to preach with his father at Ebenezer Church and where he had established the headquarters of his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference-it already had dozens of branches and thousands of activists in Southern cities. Ku Klux Klan crosses flashed repeatedly on his front lawn, and the eternal wanderer King made phone calls from afar to check on his wife and children.But "heavy mlat, crushing glass, forges bulat" - deists, heroes, the conscience of the nation.He was known in America, followed by reporters, kukluksklanova and FBI agents. But King's fame had not yet crossed national boundaries, and, new to America, I first met him in December 1961 - on the pages of newspapers and on television screens in motels in Georgia and Alabama.King was close by - in Americus Prison near Albany, in southern Georgia.But we couldn't include Albany in our itinerary; it was a closed city to us.We studied the arithmetic of segregation, King the elementary algebra of fighting it. As we became familiar with the psychology of white Southerners, we realized how truly frightening this force was - the force of habit for millions who had inherited the precepts of racism from their fathers and grandfathers. King knew not only this, but another problem, another psychology. He knew how difficult it was to squeeze out of himself, of his loved ones, of millions of black people, drop by drop, the psychology of the slave, because the slave's inferiority complex came from his fathers and grandfathers.In Rome, Tuskegee, Chattanooga, we felt the undercurrent of racial tension so characteristic of the American South. In Albany, sparks were already flying. At the LaGrange bus station, before our eyes, the eyes of random foreign witnesses, a Negro woman recoiled in fright as she peered inadvertently into a room for whites. In Albany on December 10, eleven Negro students (ten newcomers and one local), defying inhibitions, boldly entered the whites' room at the railroad station.It was the time of the glorious "freedom raids," guerrilla raids on the extensive system of segregation, launched by young activists from the energetic, newly formed Student Nonviolent Action Coordinating Committee. In groups, young people burst into bus and train stations, into stores, cafeterias, and motels, sitting down or throwing themselves on the floor. Sitting and lying down strikes disrupted the established flow of life and business. Police hands were placed around their necks, they were dragged to local jails, sometimes brutally beaten-the doubly racist rage of the racists was directed at white students from the North: they were seen as traitors. King came to the rescue with his "direct mass action."That's what happened in Albany. The students were arrested. A day later, hundreds of Albany blacks protested. Another 267 people were arrested.On December 15, King flew to Albany from Atlanta. He was awaited as one awaits justice. As one waits for a miracle worker. (Back in the days of the Montgomery boycott, when King's fame and popularity came to him, he once ironically remarked, "A man who has reached his zenith at twenty-seven has hard days ahead of him. People expect me to pull rabbits out of hats like a magician for the rest of my life)."). The Siloha Baptist Church could not accommodate the 1,500 people gathered, many standing outside in the drizzling rain - the plane had been delayed by bad weather. Five hours in the rain - there was a special magnetism emanating from King's name.- We cannot slow down our movement. We cannot afford the doctrine of gradualism. Gradualism leads to doing nothing, and doing nothing means staying the same. We demand all our rights and we demand them here and now! - exclaimed King in his short speech. And to begin with, the protesters demanded the release of those arrested by ten o'clock in the morning of December 16.But King's magnetism did not work on Albanian Mayor Asa Kelly and Police Chief Lori Pritchett. They had already flown to Jackson, Mississippi, and consulted with Pierce, the head of detectives there, who was known for his ability to contrast mass action tactics with mass arrest tactics.3 S. N. KondrashovOn December 16, the Negroes marched toward City Hall. There were about six hundred of them. In the lead were King and the Albanian Negro Dr. Anderson.Three blocks from City Hall, the demonstrators were blocked by Lori Pritchett. Behind him stood police officers, and from the roof of a neighboring hotel the National Guardsmen watched the scene with interest. Lori Pritchett approached King and asked for permission to march. No authorization was forthcoming. In a megaphone, Lori Pritchett ordered them to disperse. They did not disperse. And then they were rounded up and led into an alley adjacent to the prison.That's the way it was done. They demonstrated peacefully, non-violently. Lori Pritchett arrested them without violence. The jails of the county received over 700 Negroes. King and Anderson found themselves in the same cell. Thirty-two-year-old King was disparagingly called "boi" by the jailers. He was respected and loved by thousands and thousands, but to the jailers he was a "nigger" - a subhuman and a criminal. Dr. Anderson cried during an interview with a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune. He recalled serving in the Navy during World War II and "being willing to die for this country- for my country." Sheriff Scheppel interrupted the interview, "Isn't that a lot of honor for a nigger?"King refused to pay his bail and walk free. He wanted the demonstrations to continue, at least a thousand people to go to jail, students to "pilgrimage" to the bathhouses on Christmas Day, and the prolonged crisis to hurt the pockets of Albanian businessmen by disrupting the most profitable Christmas commercial season of the year. But some Albany Negroes were frightened by these "extremes" and the white man's revenge. "King and the others will leave," said one local leader, "and we'll have to live here.Before Christmas they concluded a "truce" for two months. In the wake of the Albanian events, King urged President John F. Kennedy to issue a second proclamation for the emancipation of blacks - almost a century after the first, signed by Lincoln. He recalled the president's campaign vow to end segregation in housing "with the stroke of a pen," and other promises contained in campaign speeches. But government support was purely symbolic. Robert Kennedy, the president's brother, limited himself to a phone call to the mayor of Albany and a plea for compliance with those federal interstate passenger regulations that prohibited discrimination at train and bus stations.The Albanian campaign dragged on intermittently for months, until the summer of 1962. Negroes demonstrated and went to the prisons, implementing King's gandhist slogan "Let's fill the prisons!". Well, it was easier to go to jail than to the white man's cafeteria: up to 5 percent of Albany Negroes went to jail, none to the cafeteria. Easier than parks, libraries, city buses: Albany officials closed parks and libraries and even stopped city buses to maintain segregation. "The national press," by which is usually meant New York newspapers and television, expressed sympathy for blacks, but the Albany racists defied reeducation by nonviolence and still believed they were right.In this campaign - the second largest in scope after the Montgomery bus boycott - King was defeated. His critics declared nonviolence a dead doctrine. But King did not despair."The mechanism of social movement," he later wrote, "is made up of human beings with all their faults and strong qualities. They must make mistakes and learn from them, make mistakes again and learn anew. They must know the taste of defeat as well as the taste of victory, and learn how to live with both. The teachers are time and action."He knew the taste of defeat, was willing to learn from mistakes, and talked of revolution. He was persistent, devilishly, Americanly persistent, although he realized that the more persistent he was, the more likely it was that sooner or later he would be brought to an end.BIRMINGHAM BELLBefore proceeding to the Birmingham chapter of this chronicle of one life, I will allow myself to quote two references about Birmingham.Reference one is from the well-known Columbia Encyclopedia:"Birmingham. An industrial city (pop. 340,887), the center of Jefferson County, central Alabama, situated in the Jones Valley, near the southern spurs of the Appalachian mountain system. The largest city in the state and the leading steel center in the South. The city's huge steel mills and its metal-working factories are supplied with iron, coal, and limestone from the surrounding area. Textiles, chemicals, and cement are also produced. Founded as a city in 1871, Birmingham grew rapidly. This rapid industrial development was the result of the advantages that natural resources provided, as well as the expansion of the railroad network. A large iron statue of Vulcan, erected on Mount Red, towers over the city. Birmingham is home to Howard College (Baptist; teaching men and women jointly; 1907), the medical college and dental school of the University of Alabama.Birmingham-Southern College (Methodist; co-educational) was established in 1918 by the merger of Southern University and Birmingham College. In 1953 the Birmingham Conservatory of Music became part of the college."What this brief note fails to mention is that of Birmingham's 340,887 residents, 135,332 - two-fifths - were Negroes. Let us take this fact into account and look at Birmin. gem 1963 through the eyes of a Negro. Martin Luther King, in his book "Why We Can't Wait," dedicated to the Birmingham phase of the Negro struggle for equality, gave us this opportunity.Now, reference two is by King:"If you had visited Birmingham before April 3 of the one-hundredth year after the emancipation of the Negroes, you would have come to a surprising conclusion. You would have thought that this city, like Rip Van Winkle, had slept an uneasy slumber for decades, that its fathers had apparently never heard of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, the Bill of Rights, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, or the 1954 decision by the United States Supreme Court to ban segregation in public schools.If you had imagination enough to place yourself in the position of a Negro child born and raised in Birmingham, you would envision your life as follows.You were born in a segregated hospital to parents who most likely lived in the ghetto. You attended a segregated school. It is not true that the city fathers never heard of the supreme court decision. They had heard of it and consistently refused to accept it, a position expressed by the prophecy of one official who said that blood would be shed in the streets of Birmingham before desegregation came there.You would spend your childhood playing mostly in the streets because there were virtually no parks for "colored" people. When a federal court banned segregation in parks, Birmingham closed them and even gave up the city's baseball team just to keep it from being integrated....If your family attended church, you would go to a Negro church. You would not be allowed into a church attended by whites. For although your white fellow citizens claimed to be Christians, segregation was enforced as strictly in the house of God as it was in the theater.If you were a music lover who wanted to visit the Metropolitan Opera on its tour of the South, you wouldn't be able to get the pleasure. However, just like white music lovers: the Metropolitan Opera has stopped including Birmingham in its national tours to avoid performing to segregated audiences.If you wanted to join the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), you couldn't become a member of its local affiliate. In Alabama, segregationist authorities managed to ban the NAACP, declaring it a "foreign corporation" and illegal.If you were looking for work in this city, one of the nation's largest iron and steel production centers, you would probably have to settle for a job as a longshoreman or laborer. If you were able to find a job, you would know that a promotion or pay raise would not be for you, but for a white worker, no matter what your abilities. At work, you would be given separate meals and a water fountain and restroom for "coloreds" - in accordance with city ordinances.If you believed the history books and thought of America as a country where leaders - city, state or nation - are elected by those they lead, you would quickly be frustrated in your attempt to exercise your right to register to vote. All sorts of obstacles would await you on the road that is now most important to the American Negro--the road to the voting booth. By January 1963, only 10,000 of Birmingham's 80,000 voters were Negroes. Making up two-fifths of the city's population, the bowl race had one-eighth of all votes.You would live in a city where atrocities against Negroes were an unqualified and unquestioned reality. One of the city commissioners who ruled Birmingham, the racist Eugene Connor, nicknamed Bull, prided himself on knowing how to handle a Negro and keep him in his "place." Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor, for years wielding great power in Birmingham, trampled on the rights of Negroes and also resisted the authority of the federal government.You would find a general atmosphere of violence and brutality in Birmingham. Local racists terrorized, persecuted, and even murdered Negroes with impunity. The most expressive recent example of Birmingham terror was the castration of a Negro who, mutilated, was abandoned on a deserted road. No Negro home was safe from bombs and arson. From 1957 to 1963--at a time when Birmingham still claimed that its Negroes were "content"--seventeen bombs were thrown at Negro churches and the homes of civil rights leaders, and none of these cases were investigated.Negroes were not the only ones who suffered from Bull Connor's arbitrary behavior. In 1961, Birmingham's Commissioner of Public Safety arrested the director of a local bus station when he, in obeying federal law, wanted to serve Negroes. Although a federal district judge harshly condemned Connor for this move and released the arrestee, by early 1963 Birmingham still had not integrated any public facilities other than the bus station, railroad station, and airport.In Bull Connor's Birmingham, a U.S. Senator who came to give a speech was once arrested because he walked through a door for "colored people."In Bull Connor's Birmingham, the unspoken password was fear. Not only fear of oppressed blacks, but also fear in the hearts of white oppressors. Part of their fear was due to the consciousness of their guilt. There was also a fear of change, very characteristic of people brought up in the long winter of reaction. Many feared public ostracism. Certainly there were moderate whites in Birmingham who disapproved of Bull Connor's behavior. Certainly there were decent white citizens in Birmingham who privately condemned the brutal treatment of Negroes. But publicly they remained silent. It was a silence born of fear - fear of social, political, and economic repression. The greatest tragedy of Birmingham was not the cruelty of bad men, but the silence of good men.In Birmingham, you would live in a society where the long tyranny of the white man has intimidated your people, forced them to abandon hope, developed a false sense of inferiority....You would live in the largest city in a police state where the governor was George Wallace, who, upon taking office, took an oath: "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!" In fact, you would live in the most segregated city in America."What can be added to this reference, in which the tense pathos of rejection is cloaked with informational impassivity? That the castrated Negro's name was Judge Aaron? That in May, 1961, a dozen scoundrels brutally beat two members of the Freedom Raid, Charles Pearson, a Negro, and James Peck, a white student, at the bus station, and that the police wrestled them from the ruffians when both were unconscious? That since 1956, the ritual crosses of the Ku Klux Klan have been warningly burned fifty times on a Birmingham night, heralding terror to Negroes?Or that at the same time, when elementary human justice had not been restored, scientific progress was inexorably advancing and the American John Glenn, following Yuri Gagarin and German Titov, was already seeing our compact Earth from space orbit through the porthole of his Druzhba-7 capsule?Or that the strong impulse to freedom and the true hero of 1962 became in America a Negro student James Meredith, the most famous student in the world at that time? He was enrolled in the "lily-white" Mississippi University with the help of 16,000 soldiers, 500 federal marshals (bailiffs) and two Kennedy brothers - the President and the Minister of Justice.So, this time it was not the target who sought King out, as happened in Albany, where he tried, without preparation and without success, to complete the work begun by the student "freedom raid." This time they had chosen their own target-and what a target! They were aiming for the solar plexus of racism. They fervently dreamed of breaking the backbone of segregation across the country by winning in Birmingham. Bull Connor was the epitome of their adversary. This seemingly respectable, thick-cheeked, gray-haired gentleman wore expensive, well-tailored suits, horn-rimmed glasses, colorful ties, and carried a briefcase rather than a club, but he was not ashamed of his nickname; on the contrary, he was proud of it and justified it by his demonstrative intolerance of any attempt at desegregation.Behind him, from the governor's residence in Montgomery, looked the small, unassuming but sturdy figure of the bigot George Wallace-he had already taken his categorical oath of segregation forever, had already blocked the doors of Alabama universities in front of Negro students with his own body in full view of the nation; he had yet to elect his wife governor by the votes of white Alabamians, since the state constitution barred him from running for a second term, to make successful campaign forays into some of the North's industrial cities in 1964 and 1968, and, finally, to outlast King and stun America with his candidacy for the third "Independent American Party" presidential nomination.In the Birmingham campaign, the stakes were high, the opponents strong. And the risk was high, for a country where the philosophy of success, sensational and continuous, thrives, does not favor losers and quickly forgets about them in the dreadful bustle of life. After the failure in Albany, a defeat in Birmingham would have dealt a ruinous blow to the "apostle of non-violence".With some justification King was reproached for neglecting the details of organizational work, but this time he and his associates prepared thoroughly. They practiced tactics, trained men, raised money. He was certainly not a loner, he was always among the people. Rising above others with the authority of a nationally recognized leader, the talent to move people to action, and the art of speaking accurately, ardently, sublimely, but in the earthy language of his people, King surrounded himself with loyal associates and good organizers. He was the first among equals, and each of them, doing their own thing, did not challenge King's leadership, realizing how valuable to their movement was his attractive power, which came from selflessness and self-denial, from the ability to merge with the cause, to ask more of himself than of others.King's appearance on the Birmingham scene was precipitated by the actions of Pastor Fred Shuttlesworth, leader of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, a group that had joined King's organization. "Before you can start living, you have to be ready to die," Shuttlesworth once said. He was ready to die, and so he lived fearlessly. King called him "the South's most courageous civil rights activist." Shuttlesworth, like King, was a Baptist minister. Like King, perpetually under threat of death: his home and church were repeatedly targeted by racist bombs. Imprisoned more than once, he knew Bull Connor's habits well. Birmingham's climate of terror did not intimidate Shuttlesworth's group. It was this group that secured a court order to desegregate public recreational facilities - after which the authorities closed the city's parks. In early 1962, "Alabama Christians" supported Miles College students in a campaign to boycott white merchants.Shuttlesworth's group provided the first verifiable cadre of activists when King's Atlanta headquarters started a top-secret folder called "Project Controversy" - the Birmingham Controversy.King learned a valuable lesson from the Albanian debacle: in order for a strike to reach its target, one must not disperse forces, but must strike in one direction. The target was the Birmingham merchants. The specific target was the desegregation of the launch counters - the snack bars attached to the stores.Launch counters - how thickly sprinkled with these two words the chronicle of the Birmingham events of 1963, after which in America began to talk about the Negro revolution.Launch counters and revolution - the juxtaposition of these words seems unexpected. Buses in Montgomery, diners in Birmingham - what small targets were chosen by a man who never tired of repeating that he wanted all rights, and immediately, and who once uttered the beautiful words that "it is as impossible to be half free as it is to be half alive".But Martin Luther King assembled and trained his army with clear goals.What are launch counters? In every American department store there is a long counter or several counters somewhere in the corner, and along them there are high, firmly fixed stools. And, sitting on such a stool, a tired customer throws an order for a cup of coffee and an apple pie, for "iced tea", which is served in tall glasses filled with crushed ice, for a "hot dog", i.e. a sausage, which is not inferior in elasticity and, sometimes, in taste to the products of the rubber goods factory.Launch counters are a convenience born of simple but accurate calculation. The merchant has a direct calculation to keep the customer under his roof, because most likely he will not return if he goes for a "hot dog" under another roof. The peddler would not hesitate to give a Negro a dime, but in the South of 1963, seeing a black man next to a white man on stools at a cramped counter, elbow to elbow, was like seeing the end of the world. Deprived of food, the Negro was humiliated wherever his dollars were accepted, and so the desegregation of these diners had significance, if you will, and symbolic meaning. After all, every Negro sooner or later comes to a department store to experience the humiliation of the diners closed to him.So, "sit-ins" at eateries, despite the risk of arrests and beatings. A parallel boycott of the stores. With 40 percent of Birmingham's Negro population, a mass boycott would mean a reduction in the number of customers and in the amount of revenue equal to the most terrible difference between profit and loss for a merchant.Finally, a march, an open confrontation, a public challenge to Bull and all the other racists.They decided to speak in the most understandable American language, the language of the dollar, and to make the conversation more convincing, they timed the beginning of the campaign to coincide with Easter Eve, which in 1963 was April 14, the second commercial season in America after Christmas.That was the plan.In the Southern Christian Leadership Conference training centers, volunteers learned the methods of nonviolence and direct action. Each signed a special "commitment card" to the movement, pledging to abide by its Ten Commandments. The commandments alternated religious vows with a combat oath. Commandment one commanded to "meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus." Commandment Five was to "sacrifice personal desires so that all men may be free." The seventh is to "refrain from violence of the fist, tongue, and heart." Tenth - "to obey the instructions of the leader of the demonstration."This peculiar army rejected all physical weapons, even penknives, which some people tried to bring with them, not against police batons, but against vicious police sheepdogs specially trained on "coloreds". "We proved to them that we did not need weapons, not even toothpicks," King wrote of the volunteers' training, "We proved that we wielded the most powerful weapon of all - the conviction that we were right. We were protected by the knowledge that achieving our just goals interested us more than saving our own skins." "Let's fill the prisons!" - this slogan was in effect in Birmingham as well. They were preparing for prison days, expecting thousands of Negroes to go to jail - the more the better.But to ensure that the planned thousands would not stay in jail for long and families would not lose their breadwinners, they needed money, a sizable bail fund. King and Shuttlesworth traveled to New York--where better to find the money than New York? In the apartment of the famous Negro singer Harry Belafonte, a beautiful, talented and also rich man, they met several dozen sympathetic businessmen, priests, people of art. The meeting, like all preparations for the campaign, was secret. A fundraising committee was established, and Harry Belafonte, heading it, actively and successfully undertook an unusual endeavor.Wat Walker, King's assistant, secretly, as a spy, conducted reconnaissance on the ground - in the shopping districts of Birmingham. Walking the streets, chose target stores, marked on his map their entrances and exits, through the windows of diners counted the number of "seats" to know how many people will need to each object. Backup targets were planned in case the approaches to the main targets were blocked by police.Even the day of King's arrest was pre-planned, or rather, the day he himself would lead the march and thereby incur arrest and imprisonment.In late March, King arrived in Birmingham and set up his temporary headquarters in the Gaston Motel, owned by a wealthy Negro.Despite careful preparations, the situation remained difficult and the chances of success shaky. 250 volunteers were ready, but would they succeed in swaying the 135,000-strong mass of Birmingham Negroes?At first, the organizers of the campaign encountered resistance from many Negro ministers and businessmen influential among the local community. They had fears and illusions. They did not believe in success, feared riots and increased racist terror, and feared that in terms of personal gain they would lose rather than gain from King's marches. They were "in good standing" with the white masters of the city and valued their reputation as well-meaning, law-abiding - racist laws - citizens. As King correctly noted, by internally capitulating, such a Negro "accepted the white man's theory that he, the Negro, was inferior." "Semi-freedom" on a racist leash, knee-jerk and civic passivity suited them, enabling them, if not to live, at least to physically survive.Together with the liberal New York press and Justice Secretary Robert Kennedy, who supported desegregation in principle, these blacks believed the campaign was "poorly timed." The fact was that Birmingham had just held an election. Bull Connor, running for mayor, had been defeated by Albert Bothwell, a segregationist moderate. On April 3, the Birmingham News heralded Bothwell's victory optimistically with a front-page headline, "A New Day is engaged over Birmingham." Hopeful of the new mayor's moderation, some of Birmingham's Negroes were again willing to wait for a change for the better.Finally, they saw King as an alien, a traveling agitator, a troublemaker; he would make a mess and they would have to deal with it.King took on the difficult task of explaining and persuading, dispelling fear, illusions, suspicion. Every day he spoke to groups of influential Negroes, seeking their understanding and support. He convinced them that the cause was a common one, that the key to success in unity and solidarity, that "no Negro, wherever he lives, whatever his social and financial status, prestige and views, can be a 'stranger' if the dignity of any black child in Mississippi, Alabama or Georgia is violated."And so it began, the spring, summer, and fall of Birmingham 1963, the first salvos of the first general offensive against American racism, an offensive prepared by the deeds and heroism of the first hundreds who took mortal risks to spill the already brimming cup of protest of millions. Those volleys, not the election of Albert Bothwell, heralded a new day, a new era of struggle that lifted King to the pinnacle of fame and stature and then molded him into a Memphis bullet.April 3 - the first day of the confrontation - came and went almost unnoticed. Thirty volunteers infiltrated the Birmingham Mall, entered Britt's Department Store, Woolworth's and Loveman's stores, rushed to the forbidden counters of diners, right on schedule. They were arrested and sent to jail.In the evening a rally was held in a Negro church, the first of sixty-five mobilization rallies. Five hundred Negroes gathered. "We are moving toward the land of liberty, and nothing will stop us," King declared. Ralph Abernethy admonished a white reporter: "Tell them we want to rock this city like it's never been rocked before.Marches and arrests by day, solidarity and protest rallies in the evenings, mobilizing the masses. Day after day, and march after march, and rally after rally, like the first uncertain selection of ropes in the hands of the bell ringer who climbed the bell tower, and a timid, tentative chime, and here they are, the first resounding strikes of the big bell, and the main thing is to believe in its cast power and to strike skillfully and without tiring, and then a drowning, powerful chime will float over the earth, concealing anxiety and triumph, the promise of struggle, sacrifice and victory.Oh those meetings in the churches that replaced the public halls - the glowing dark faces in the semi-darkness, the murmuring thick Negro voices of the preacher-speakers and the answering shouts from the audience, cheering themselves and the people on the podium: oh yayes.... oh yez. yeez!And freedom songs, freedom songs, are the soul of the Negro movement. They served a glorious cause, these songs, rearranged from the old slave songs imbibed from the mother's milk. They rallied with their swaying rhythm, the words were familiar, simple, heartfelt, "We shall overcome... We shall overcome someday," the words of the favorite hymn were vowed and the final call to sign up as volunteers for tomorrow's march fell upon the excited crowd.The few marches of the first few days gradually gathered strength. The boycott of the stores was successful, the peculiar checkpoints registered only two dozen Negro shoppers in the shopping center area of the city during the day.The jails were filling up.On April 7, Palm Sunday, police dogs and batons made their debut, but on the whole Bull Connor behaved with remarkable restraint. His subordinates avoided violence. With his fist tucked into his glove, the head of the Birmingham police force was proving he's not so stupid. His moratorium on atrocities dampened the drama of the struggle and reduced everything to a formal clash between "law" and "lawlessness," with the "law" on the side of the guardians of order, because the Negroes were marching without authorization from the authorities.4 S. N. KondrashovIn ten days the police arrested 450 people. The campaign was generally going according to plan, but things were not going well, lacking the "constructive tension" that King had sought.Meanwhile, the day was coming when King was to lead another march and thus put himself in the hands of the police. The day before, at the Hotel Gaston, he had conferred with friends and associates. The movement's bail fund had become depleted after the first hundred arrests, and sensing this, city officials were demanding cash to ransom prisoners. Not in prison, but on the outside, King could replenish the treasury with his name and personal appeals to sympathizers. What if tomorrow he were arrested? But what would they say of him if he, having sent hundreds to prison, did not march in the ranks of the march on the day already announced, and evaded arrest and imprisonment? His credibility is a capital no less necessary than the bail fund, it is the credibility of the movement, and he may be declared a scrounger and a coward. After agonizing hesitation, against the entreaties of his friends, he sacrificed expediency for principle: he must keep his word, and it would be most dangerous to be known as a cheat.On April 12, 50 men marched out of Zion Hill Church, and on their way to downtown, five prison vans, about a hundred police officers, and Bull Connor himself were waiting to personally order the arrest of their chief enemy. In farmer's jeans and shirts, that overalls for marches and prisons, the two leaders approached the police cordon. An order to disperse, a refusal to disperse - and two policemen, roughly grabbing them by the scruff of the neck, chased them toward a van.In prison, King was left alone, his lawyer not immediately allowed to see him. Coretta, who remained in Atlanta, was depressed by the lack of news. In late March, she became the mother of her fourth child, a girl they named Bernice-Albertine, but only a few days spent the happy father with the newborn. It was extremely rare that the family was in full assembly. King was in a hurry to his other "brainchild" - the Birmingham campaign was beginning. Now he had disappeared behind the prison wall, and Coretta feared for his life, knowing that King's fame was not a hindrance, but a temptation for the racists who had gotten their hands on him. She acted vigorously, reached the White House. The President was not in Washington, vacationing in Palm Beach, his father's Florida estate. Coretta was connected to his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, then to Robert Kennedy. She told of her anxiety for her husbanda's life.Twenty-four hours later, a phone call rang in the King's Atlanta home. It was the President of the United States. He said that he could not intervene in the actions of the Birmingham authorities and secure Dr. King's release, but that, on his instructions, FBI agents had visited Dr. King in prison - he was alive and safe, of which the President was pleased to inform Mrs. King. A quarter of an hour later she received a call from her husband.It was the second time Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy met in absentia under such unusual - through prison - circumstances. The first meeting in absentia took place in late October 1960, at the height of the election battle between Kennedy and Nixon, a few weeks before that early morning of November 8, when the young Massachusetts senator woke up in Hyannis Port, another estate of his wealthy father, and saw Secret Service agents outside the window - they had come to protect him as the newly elected president of the United States. So, in late October, Senator Kennedy was moving around the country delivering the last of his hundreds of campaign speeches, and Pastor King, shackled in leg irons, was languishing in solitary confinement in Reidsville, Georgia, having been arrested for trying to enter the "white" restaurant of Rich's Trading Corporation in Atlanta, and sentenced to four months' hard labor for driving around Georgia with an Alabama driver's license. And, having learned about the misfortunes of the Reidsville prisoner, Senator Kennedy expressed his sympathy for Coretta King in a politically targeted, designed for the press telephone conversation, and his brother and chief strategist in the campaign Robert Kennedy persuaded the judge to release King on bail of 2 thousand dollars. This story, which happened just before the election, was widely publicized, premeditated by the Kennedy brothers. The Negro vote was being chased. Touched King Senior, Martin's father, publicly supported the candidacy of John F. Kennedy (King himself refrained from this step). It is difficult to judge the significance of the prompt and effective intervention of the Kennedy brothers, but if we take into account that both candidates had an equal chance to finish, as well as the fact that Kennedy received more Negro votes than Nixon, although the total number of votes ahead of the rival only 118 thousand - if you take into account all of this, then we can give credence to the opinion of many experts who believe that the "non-intervention" Nixon cost him in 1960 the presidency.And now, in April 1963, President Kennedy had helped Coretta find peace of mind and her husband a lawyer and a telephone, even though he had been "neutral" between the equalityists and the racists in terms of government in the first phase of the Birmingham campaign.King was behind bars for eight days. He was thinking, of course, of his small children, two girls and two boys. About his wife, who was anxious again - always anxious for her husband, for her children, and now for her new, weak life. And it was not only about them that he thought. Always he carried in himself, in his heart, the voices, gestures, eyes, faces, the first timid words of the Negro babies, and, surfacing in his memory, overlapping each other, they created two symbolic images of which he loved to write and speak, - a boy on a dirty street in New York's Harlem and a girl on the dilapidated veranda of an Alabama shack, abandoned, sad, - in them were ready to awaken terribly cruel insights of the adult world, where from the moment of birth they are reserved for the place of the humiliated and persecuted. Having gone through these epiphanies, he knew how they crush a person. He remembered his mother and that stunning day when, as a five-year-old boy, she had revealed to him the awful truth that he was born black in a world ruled by whites.Now he was in her shoes. His six-year-old daughter and five-year-old son were already tormenting him with the same damning questions.In the end, he wanted his children, that boy from Harlem and that girl from Mississippi, to grow up in a world, in a society where they would never have that oppressive, for many, murderous epiphany. But in his house a new life was heralded. Would this child, too, one day demand from him an explanation worse than any other?Impatience stung King. As he thought of his children, he thought of his business. Meanwhile, he was accused of haste. Who? White clergymen, fellow priests with a reputation for equality. The famous preacher Billy Graham loudly advised Pastor King to "slow down a bit". Eight Birmingham ministers - among the moderates, those who even dared to let Negroes into their churches - published "An Appeal to Law, Order and Common Sense." Their common sense condemned the Negro movement as "unwise and untimely," and their interpretation of law and order was reduced to praise for Bull Connor's "endurance." The priests urged the Negro community in Birmingham to "refuse to support the demonstrations" and "some of our Negro citizens led and directed by outsiders." This statement took aim at King, the chief "outsider."On April sixteenth, King wrote in reply a "Letter from Birmingham Jail"-a long letter, for "what else can you do when alone in a jail cell but write long letters, think long thoughts, and pray long prayers." Yes, in prison at least there was time - to mentally look around, to critically analyze both his tactics and the overall situation, and to write that long letter. There was both time and calculation - a letter from prison solitary confinement has more persuasive power than an "appeal" composed at home in the comfort of one's office.This address to his opponents was not pious but critically vehement. Responding to the rebukes, King wrote: "We have waited more than 340 years for our rights.... Countries in Asia and Africa are moving at jet speed toward political independence, and we are still crawling like turtles toward a cup of coffee at the diner. "Wait!" - apparently easy to say for those who have not been stung by the stinging sting of segregation."And then - at the same speed of a swift and angry pen, at the same breath of a man who had suffered his impeccable truth and was wounded by the arrogant blindness of his "brothers in Christ" - went, no, not went, but flew, a tirade of accusation, a tirade of oath, a tirade of pain of a soul easily wounded but accustomed to restraint:"When you see a vicious rabble lynching your parents and drowning your sisters and brothers at whim and caprice; when you see hate-filled policemen insulting, beating and even killing your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your 20 million Negro brothers suffocating in a cage of poverty in the midst of a society of plenty; when you suddenly begin to stammer and stutter as you try to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the city park or the "fun town" that was just advertised on television, and you notice the tears welling up in her eyes and feel the ominous clouds of inferiority rising in her spiritual sky as she already cripples herself by subconsciously developing bitterness against whites; when you are forced to come up with an answer to your five-year-old son who asks: "Daddie, why are white people so mean to colored people? "; when you drive the roads of your country and night after night you have to sleep bent over in a car because no motel will take you in; when day after day you are humiliated by the picky signs of "white" and "colored"; when your first name is "nigger," your second is "boy" (no matter how old you are), and your last name is John, and your wife and mother never hear the respectful address "Mrs." when you are devastated by day and haunted at night by the fact that you are a Negro who must constantly live as a tiptoe dancer, never knowing what tomorrow holds, who is branded by inner fears and rejected by the world around him; when you are constantly struggling with the annihilating sense of your own 'nothingness'-then you will understand why we find it hard to wait."In this counterattack letter, King defended the right to not obey racist laws: "There are two kinds of laws: just and unjust..... Any law that exalts the human person is just. Any law that belittles the human person is unjust." He wrote of frustration with "the white church and its leaders," of meeting young people every day who speak of the church with "outright disgust" because it has not taken the side of the oppressed, who dismiss it as "a worthless secular club that has no meaning in the twentieth century." He hailed priests who broke "the paralyzing chains of conformity and became active partners in the struggle for freedom."A preacher of nonviolence, he was accused of extremism. In response, he defended a "creative extremism" that excluded acquiescence to injustice and oppression, an extremism expressed in the words of his namesake, the church reformer Martin Luther: "On this I stand. And I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.In this passionate letter, conviction merged with anger, adamancy with bitterness. And anxiety. And apprehension. His reprimand by eight priests exposed a hard truth. His critics again saw less evil in racism than in street marches. The Birmingham breakthrough was a breakthrough to the conscience, to the conscience of millions of Americans. Only public solidarity could break the racists. But there was no solidarity yet. On the contrary - and this was shown by King's opponents - sympathy went to Bull Connor, the guardian of "law and order" in the city where King and his followers were "rioting." Moderate Americans habitually placed order above justice. It was as if they didn't see racism, brutality, oppression. There were Negroes marching in defiance of the law, and patient, even humane police officers who, restrained by their batons and dogs, performed the professional duty of arresting and trying lawbreakers.The paradox, a paradox planned, so to speak, and organically incorporated into King's strategy, was that the success of nonviolence was usually linked to the violence of the other side, the violence of the enemy, the violence of the racists. In this case, the veil of indifference was torn away and a third and decisive force entered the fray: the solidarity of the press, television, public opinion, and ultimately the federal government.Out of jail on bail after eight days, King strongly insisted on enlisting Negro youth in the marches. College students, high school and even elementary school students enthusiastically learned the simple secrets of direct nonviolent action in unusual training sessions.And now hundreds, not dozens, of demonstrators were marching triumphantly, with songs of freedom, to the prisons. When an astonished policeman, leaning over an eight-year-old girl held by her mother's hand, asked. "What do you want?", the girl stammered, but still clearly said: "Freedom!"Birmingham saw extraordinary pictures: in school buses, in yellow school buses, children were being taken not to schools but to prisons - police vans were no longer available. Many school principals forbade participation in the marches, but students were leaving the classrooms on their own.On May 2, the police were exhausted from dragging the unresisting but also unyielding mass of people into vans and buses. More than a thousand people were arrested that day, mostly young people.And then the enraged Bull threw off his mask.On May 3, the march was brutally dispersed.On May 4, historic images appeared in American newspapers.Two infuriated policemen swung their batons at an elderly Negro woman lying on the pavement.Stunned black spectators on the sidewalk, and on the sidewalk strong young men - shaved necks under caps, police plaques over the breast pockets of ironed shirts, on wide belts stainless steel handcuffs, and the palm of the right hand wrapped with leashes on which jumped with impatience wide-breasted sheepdogs. And among the young men, with his back to the camera, a Negro in a straw hat, with his arms spread out and his legs apart, as if dancing some very difficult, very risky, not at all voluntary dance - his left pant leg is torn from top to bottom, exposing the tense muscles of the leg, and beside it, opening its mouth with white fangs, a sheepdog on a leash, asking to be a partner in this dance, while another sheepdog was busy with the right pant leg and the right buttock.The three against the wall are like suicide bombers. They are being shot with jets from a hose. The Negro woman on the left seems to want to press herself into the wall, to wall herself in - already in this will be salvation, and to the right - a guy, protecting his face with his hand, and the third one prayerfully bowed his head under the shots of merciless water, and wet clothes stick to the skin in sculptural folds.The Birmingham sessions of "Charcot showers" used not only fire brigades, but also hydro-monitors from coal mines, their jet tearing skin and breaking ribs of people, tearing bark off trees.In our age, the testimony of the movie camera and the camera is believed more than the cry of the soul, especially since not every cry will be heard and not every soul can express itself. Reporters helped the Birmingham Negroes. The pictures shocked America with their murderous concreteness. Better than King, they answered those who urged no haste. "Bull Connor's police dogs brought charges against the conscience of white America that could no longer be ignored," the American historian Arthur Schlesinger later observed.This is how "creative tension" was created.The Negroes did not back down. The next day thousands of them took to the streets again, knowing that the "nonviolence" of the police was over and that they would again be met with dogs, batons, and water cannons. But it was, as King rightly said, "our finest hour." It was at this hour that the Birmingham bell tolled.The Birmingham police and their commissioner were on the rampage. Brutal massacres of civilians, of teenagers, of young children, day in and day out of Alabama were spilling out of Alabama onto television screens, onto the pages of newspapers in America and around the world. Where there had been peaceful confrontation, batons were now whistling, cops were stomping on Negroes, tight jets of water were hissing, and the prediction of the racist who said that blood would flow through the streets of Birmingham before desegregation arrived was already coming true. And one of the most striking elements of this picture was black teenagers demanding freedom, and strong, fattened dogs off their leashes!Americans could only justify themselves by saying that this was the Deep South, living by its own savage laws, rejected by the civilized North. The world did not split its impressions by this artificial apologetic division: in Birmingham it was horrified by the face of racist America.In those climactic days more than 2,500 Negroes were thrown into prisons. "Let's fill the jails!" - and Birmingham's jails were so full that the police stopped making mass arrests.President Kennedy sent Burke Marshall, the principal assistant secretary of justice for Negro affairs, to Birmingham. And at this juncture, the President shied away from a clash between the federal government and local authorities. While expressing his concern, he simultaneously emphasized the absence of constitutional prerogatives that would justify his direct intervention. He opted for a roundabout search for compromise, instructing Burke Marshall to organize negotiations between Negro leaders and large white businessmen, these true lords of Birmingham. In addition, on the President's instructions, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Secretary of the Treasury Douglas Dillon, who came to his cabinet from the business world, contacted the leaders of big business, persuading them to influence the Birmingham businessmen. Of the major national corporations, the U. S. Steel Company had the most clout in Birmingham, but its president, Roger Blau, refused to help the desegregation cause. And in the interest of truth, it should be added that the United Steelworkers Union did not lift a finger either, its reactionary leadership practiced discrimination against blacks, and many rank and file members were infected with racist sentiments.Parallel to the marches were now secret negotiations between Negro leaders and the white "Senior Citizens Committee." Negroes made four demands: 1) desegregation of snack bars, restrooms, fitting rooms, and drinking water fountains in stores; 2) nondiscriminatory promotion and hiring of Negroes in Birmingham's retail and industrial workplaces; 3) dismissal of court charges against imprisoned demonstrators; and 4) formation of an interracial committee to establish a schedule for desegregation in other areas of Birmingham life.And the police crackdowns continued unabated. Campaign organizers could no longer control Negro anger. In addition to their nonviolent squads, unorganized Negroes were drawn into the struggle, and, convinced of the efficacy of nonviolence, they used brick, empty bottle counterarguments against the police. Violence was on the rise.Fred Shuttlesworth was once thrown against the side of a house by a hose blast that stripped the bark off the trees, and he was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.- I wish he'd been taken away in a hearse," Bull Connor commented.An intense boycott of merchants practicing segregation continued. Groups of Negroes blocked the doors of stores, and there was little time for shopping in a city where even white residents preferred to stay away from the epicenter of the race riots, from the batons and dogs of the police, and from the hardened Negroes. The massacres dramatized the struggle, but in a practical sense, perhaps what helped the Negroes most was the all-powerful green dollar. The merchants took a heavy toll. "We are not in favor of integration, quite the contrary," one of them told a Wall Street Journal reporter, "We are moderate realists." Realists estimated that in four weeks of marches and boycotts, department store purchases had fallen 10 percent from a year earlier. The realists were convinced that from a commercial point of view, police repression was not paying for itself, was not guaranteeing the same flow of dollars into store cash registers and bank vaults. This circumstance forced businessmen - "city fathers" to take negotiations with the Negroes more seriously. On May 10 the parties came to an agreement. On the first point - desegregation within three months. On the second, change for the better within two months. On the third, a promise of official assistance in the release of prisoners. On the fourth, the establishment of an interracial cooperation body within two weeks.Victory!Victory?On May 11, late Saturday night, two bombs flew from a passing car into the home of Birmingham minister Alfred Daniel King, Martin Luther's younger brother. The bombs blew out the front of the house, but fortunately the homeowner, his wife and five children were unharmed. Minutes later, a bomb, believed to have been planted from the same mysterious car (the perpetrators were never found), exploded at the Gaston Motel. It was aimed at room No. 30, where King and Abernethy lived, but by coincidence-how lucky for the King brothers that Saturday night-they were with their families in Atlanta at the Atlanta at the time.Victory?The bombs came fresh from a Ku Klux Klan gathering in Bessemer, an industrial town on the southwestern edge of Birmingham. The gathering was attended by the imperial mage-head of the clan, two great dragons, two hundred "privates" in clan robes, and about a thousand "sympathizers." Crackling alarmingly in the night, two eight-meter-high crosses burned. Sparks flew in the air, the cinders overpowering the scent of blooming magnolias. These sparks exploded a few hours later with bombs at A. D. King's house and the Gaston Motel.The businessmen who made the agreement with the Negroes were accused by the Klan of treason. Birmingham authorities also did not support the agreement, and Governor George Wallace bluntly stated that he would not be a party to "a compromise on the question of segregation."Burke Marshall and his chief, Robert Kennedy, were publicly reviled.- I hope he tastes every drop of blood spilled here in his throat and that he chokes on that blood.These words were spoken by Arthur Haynes, the mayor of Birmingham, who was retiring after the election. They were addressed to Robert Kennedy.The explosions occurred on a Saturday night when the streets of Negro neighborhoods were crowded and beer bars were still open. Police dispatched to the Gaston Motel and the home of A. D. King were met by a hail of bricks. Wat Walker, King's aide, had noticed white men circling suspiciously in cars as early as the afternoon and asked for a guard to be sent. At 7:30 p.m., an unidentified man called the motel and said it would be blown up during the night. The police ignored the warnings. Now Wat Walker, standing near a half-meter hole in the wall, was pleading with the agitated Negroes in a megaphone:Go home! For God's sake, don't lose your heads! - He shouted, barely keeping his composure (his wife had been hit on the head with the butt of a police carbine, so hard that she had to be carried out in his arms).Tell that to Bull Connor! That's where nonviolence leads! - replied from the angry crowd.The road gendarmes of Colonel Al Lingo, who had not rested on the fame of Commissar Connor, arrived in cars with bayonets fixed and hand guns at the ready. The blows of rifle butts and spankings came from right and left, indiscriminately. After dispersing the Negroes gathered outside the motel, the gendarmes moved through the streets, settling scores with all the Negroes they encountered. In response, white grocers' shops were already on fire, bricks and bottles were flying at white firemen fighting the flames. And on the ghetto border, white youths were stoning ambulances from Negro hospitals as they rushed to the sites of explosions and skirmishes. Only by 4 a.m., with great difficulty, did the police and volunteers from the Negro "civil defense" restore "order." Fifty wounded lay in the hospitals.Thus passed the night one day after the victory.It disrupted the spring weekend and the brothers in the White House. This time the critical situation forced the President to intervene. On the evening of May 12, he ordered the deployment of 3,000 regular army soldiers at bases near Birmingham and announced that if necessary, he would mobilize the Alabama National Guard, thus putting it under his command. Regular units were moved urgently, by airplanes. Among them was a special operations battalion, trained to fight guerrillas. Ralph McGill, the liberal publisher of the Atlanta Constitution, was one of the first to think of an analogy that became very common in later years. "The tensions in Birmingham," he said, "are as real as ... in Vietnam."The President's precautions and warnings drew criticism from both sides. Negroes found them insufficient, racists found them an impermissible encroachment on their monopoly to establish "order." But the measures worked, and as of Monday, Birmingham was "quiet as a mouse," as one newspaper put it. The White House said it would not allow the agreement to be sabotaged. King and Abernethy, hastily returned from Atlanta, walked the streets of the ghetto, appealing to the Negroes for calm.On May 23, the Alabama state supreme court dismissed Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner Eugene Connor. In that sense, the victory was uncontested.The Kennedy brothers were in an unenviable position. They were caught between two fires and wanted to get out by pleasing both the right and the guilty, putting them on the same page. Of course, the president was constrained by the constitution, which gave considerable power to the authorities in Birmingham and Alabama. He could not, for example, interfere with the Birmingham police and curb Bull Connor: the police were subordinate to the city authorities. Against the opposition Governor Wallace he could only use regular federal troops or mobilize - in case of emergency - the state National Guard. He was extremely reluctant to take these measures, preferring roundabout ways, such as sending Burke Marshall to Birmingham.To put it bluntly, the Kennedy brothers vacillated between the principle expressed in their own promises of desegregation and civil rights, and the politicking that American bourgeois see no shame in, which dictates a real, and often cynical, accounting of the gain or loss of a move. John F. Kennedy dreamed of staying in the White House for a second term, needed the votes of the electorate and, although the next election was a year and a half away, always took this into account in his actions. On the one hand, the Negro vote, but it was few. On the other hand, by hardening the racists, he was losing votes in the South, and not only in the South, but also in the North, where the American, infected with racist psychology, believed that the Negroes were in too much of a hurry and should not be indulged. So where is the gain and where is the loss? Opinion polls did not exactly encourage the president to take a firm stand on civil rights.As the Negro struggle intensified, however, a half-hearted policy became increasingly difficult. Considerations of "civil peace" in the country, its prestige abroad, and finally the constitutional rights of Americans demanded that desegregation be addressed. A president who shied away from fulfilling campaign promises increasingly disappointed Negroes and liberal Americans. Calls to delay provoked a backlash of impatience and protest.On May 14, I was at a crowded rally in the heart of New York's Harlem, near the Theresa Hotel, on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 125th Street. As if to test the crowd, a downpour of rain, reminiscent of Bull Connor's spray cans, poured down from the sky. The test was passed. "When dogs bite Negroes in Birmingham, we bleed in New York," exclaimed the mighty James Farmer, head of the Congress of Racial Equality. It wasn't just the racists who got a kick out of the speakers, but official Washington as well. "Freedom, now! No Kennedy!" - said one leaflet, and both of these appeals found support. A. D. King, who had specially flown in from Birmingham, was warmly received. But after his speech there were cries of "We want Malcolm! We want Malcolm!" Malcolm X criticized methods of nonviolence, and the shouts from the crowd indicated that his intransigent stance was popular.In particular, there was a widening gulf of misunderstanding between Negro intellectuals and the government, although the latter valued their support. They accused the Kennedy brothers of politicking and indulging in racism.In May, at the height of the events, Robert Kennedy came to New York and invited a group of famous blacks to his apartment: the writer James Baldwin, who was at the zenith of fame and influence, sociology professor Kenneth Clark, singer Harry Belafonte and others. The president's brother wanted to build bridges of agreement and understanding, but nothing came of it.This meeting is described in the book "A Thousand Days" by historian Arthur Schlesinger, a close friend of the Kennedy family and special advisor to the president."Also in the Negro group was Jerome Smith, a young member of the 'freedom raiders' who had recently been brutally beaten in the South," Schlesinger wrote. - Smith began the conversation by saying that - so the Justice Secretary understood him - being in the same room with Robert Kennedy made him feel something like nausea. Apparently, Smith was trying to say that he was nauseous because he had to beg the Justice Secretary for his rights as an American, but Kennedy considered his words an unwarranted expression of personal contempt. The Secretary of Justice expressed his outrage. The panel agreed with Jerome Smith. And having begun on such a high note, the conversation took an even sharper turn. Jerome Smith added that as long as Negroes were treated in this manner, he felt no moral obligation to fight for the United States in the event of war. The group applauded this position. Some said guns should be sent to the South. Baldwin said the only reason the government sent federal troops to Alabama was to kill a white man. Burke Marshall, who attended the meeting, said he had consulted Dr. King about sending troops. He was ridiculed."They spoke different languages, the energetic, groomed son of a Boston multimillionaire, made Justice Secretary at 35 by his brother the president, and the young Negro brutally beaten by racists. The temperamental David Baldwin, the writer's brother, also a participant in the meeting, shook his fist in front of Robert Kennedy's nose and accused him of not understanding the moral urgency of the problem.What internal, invisible then, dramatic irony permeated this meeting-collision in a fashionable apartment at the southern edge of Central Park, beyond the northern border of which began Harlem! Six months later, the Bostonian would have his brother murdered, and five years later, he himself would collapse on the floor of a Los Angeles hotel, just as he spoke openly about America's problems and tried to get into the White House with the help of destitute blacks and other stepchildren of his country.But on that May day in 1963, Robert Kennedy was struck by this open dislike. They were far apart and looked at their homeland through very different eyes.Still, the lessons of Birmingham inclined President Kennedy to take a firmer stand. He believed that the sight of dogs tormenting women and teenagers prepared Americans for the government's drastic desegregation measures. Once, in a conversation with King, he remarked in his favorite ironic manner that "the civil rights movement owed as much to Bull Connor as it did to Abram Lincoln." Judging from that joke, which was not without merit, he did not feel like Abraham Lincoln. But at least John Kennedy was in some ways better than his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower indifferent to the struggle for equality. On June 13, John F. Kennedy said on television to the nation, "A great change is coming, and it is our task, our duty, to make this 'revolution,' this change peaceful and constructive for all." Change?That same evening, Mississippi Negro leader Medgar Evers was murdered on the doorstep of his home. This shot at Jackson warned that the racists were ready for armed struggle rather than peaceful change.On June 19, the President sent to Congress the most important bill in his thousand days in the White House--a bill for broad desegregation, and measures against discrimination against Negroes in employment, and some means of enforcing these measures.On June 22, at John Kenedy's invitation, Negro leaders came to the White House. they were more polite and restrained than the artists and writers in conversation with his brother. The talk was about the march on Wyshington they were preparing. The President feared that a mass march would increase opposition in Congress to his bill. But his interlocutors did not succumb to entreaties to "get the Negroes off the streets." King recalled Robert Kennedy's April pleas to continue with the Birmingham campaign and told the president, "Maybe this march seems unmodern, too. Frankly, I've never been involved in any direct action that didn't seem unmodern."He held himself up as a man who had proved his case against bitter enemies and skeptical unstable allies, as a victor. "Without exaggerating, one might say that Martin Luther King won the Battle of Birmingham in the same way that George Washington won the Battle of Yorktown and Nelson won the Battle of Trafalgar," William Miller wrote in a book about King. - The event was decisive and symbolic..... There were many leaders, skirmishes and skirmishes, campaigns large and small simultaneously on many fronts. He didn't lead it all, but ... for tens of millions outside the freedom movement, he became its indelible symbol."The liberty bell struck in Birmingham rang loudly all summer long. In four months, 841 demonstrations for equality took place in 196 cities in 35 states. It was a summer Southern state authorities would not forget: they arrested a total of 14,000 people. At least a million Americans, black and white, mostly in the North, participated in solidarity marches. But what was most important was not the numbers, but the fact that these were no longer isolated, short-lived confrontations with racism, but a nationwide movement that was gaining power, speed, and irresistibility.The "March on Washington," which has gone down in history as the largest demonstration in the streets of the U.S. capital, took place on August 28, at the end of that memorable summer. From very early in the morning, thousands upon thousands of people poured into Washington on the freeways, through Union Station, through National, Dulles, and Baltimore airports. A column of Brooklyn Negroes on foot came to the capital. Special "freedom trains." Thousands of "freedom buses" from the South and the North. Blacks and whites. Students and graying old men. Veterans of prisons and "freedom raids" and a hundred and fifty congressmen. Mississippi sharecroppers and Dearborn automobile manufacturers. Harvard professors and Hollywood movie stars. Priests - hundreds, maybe thousands of priests. Famous folk singers - performers of folk songs. Writers. Scientists. Trade unionists.They marched in columns and alone to the George Washington Monument, a granite needle almost 200 meters high, and on a fresh early morning, when the August sun had not yet gained strength, they were warmed by the fact that they were many, that there were more and more of them, that they were more numerous than ever. By noon, 250,000 people had gathered. And this untold mass of people solemnly, unhurriedly, following the instructions of the "marshals" - stewards, poured over to the thirty-six Doric columns of the Lincoln Monument, under the roof of which marble froze in an armchair, the unshapely and powerful "great emancipator".The year was an anniversary year. Exactly one hundred years after the issuance of the famous "Emancipation Proclamation," blacks and their allies came to remind the country and its next, 35th president that they were not yet free and that they had nothing to celebrate, as long as batons, sheepdogs, and firearms blocked their way even to the launching counters.A sea of people poured into Washington. It had been prepared by months of hard work. The idea of the march temporarily united six prominent Negro organizations - from the very moderate "Urban League" to the militant "Student Coordinating Committee" (SCC). At the latter stage, leaders^ of the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish churches and the United Automobile Workers Union, headed by Walter Reuther, also emerged as major organizers. But another shameful stroke of history was left by reactionaries from the AFT-CAT National Council of Labor Unions, who refused to support the march.The "Big Ten" organizers ensured the mass of the march and at the same time predetermined its political diversity. They came together in Washington today and surprised America with their impressive mass, but what will happen tomorrow when they disperse? How long would the current charge of unity last? They all proclaimed the slogan of equality, but how do they understand equality and what sacrifices are they willing to make to achieve it? What, for example, does the black president of the SCC, John Lewis, who was imprisoned twenty-two times and beaten more than a dozen times by Southern racists, who miraculously lived to see August 28, 1963, because he could have met a bullet so many times in the unseen Mississippi night as his comrades in arms did, have in common with the Catholic Archbishop Patrick O'Boyle, who marched for the first time in his prosperous life? Familiar with the text of Lewis's speech, the archbishop threatened to defiantly boycott the march unless the polemic with John F. Kennedy was struck out. "Revolution is a serious thing," the text of the speech read. - Mr. Kennedy is trying to take revolution off the streets and put it in the courthouses. Listen, Mr. Kennedy! Listen, Mr. Congressmen! Listen, fellow countrymen! The black masses are marching in the name of jobs and freedom, and we tell the politicians that there will be no "cooling off period" in our struggle.In the name of unity, John Lewis was persuaded to soften the text.Serving Washington froze fearfully. Officials were sent home. Stores and restaurants were closed. Not only police but also troops stationed around Washington were on standby. But the organizers of the march, dampening the fighting spirit, emphasized discipline, order. Hundreds of journalists were there, the march was televised, and its participants wanted to show tens of millions of white Americans that the notion of the Negro as an irresponsible creature was deeply flawed. In his thirty-six years on the Washington police force, its chief, Robert Murray, "more disciplined and enthusiastic." The rally in front of the Lincoln Monument was presided over by old Philip Randolph, a veteran of the movement and president of the Negro sleeping car conductors' union. In his speech he spoke somewhat softly of the same thing John Lewis had said: 'The clear and simple fact is that until we took to the streets, the federal government was indifferent to our demands'King was the last, most honored operator. Waiting for his turn, he looked tired from the busy months and from his last sleepless night - working on the speech until four in the morning in a Washington hotel.What was he thinking, standing now among the leaders of the march on the broad steps of the Lincoln Monument and gazing out into the sea of people that flooded the entire plaza in front of the monument and the banks of the rectangular Reflection Pond, in which Washington's granite needle was reflected, looking at that needle itself and at the Capitol dome floating behind it in the hot August sky with the figure of an Indian who had been physically and politically reduced to nothing to be raised as a beautiful and worthless symbol over the building that represented the sovereignty of the people? Was it not in King's mind that not so long ago, as a black boy, with his father's hand in his, he had climbed these steps to the marble figure of the "emancipator," and now he had come here as the most authoritative and recognized leader of an unprecedented armada, raising as a password the banners with the words "Jobs and Freedom" on them? Or about the now declassified folder of the "Confrontation Project" and the first 250 volunteers, who were hard to get - were they not the origins of this great march? Or about the Birmingham Bull - there was a moment of personal confrontation too, wasn't there? Or maybe he was thinking about the long eight days in prison, the long prison thoughts and the long letter to the priests who condemned him and praised the Birmingham police officers? He had convinced many and now saw hundreds of priests in the ranks of the march. Or perhaps about the difficult days ahead? For even in this moment of agreement, enthusiasm, and consciousness of their strength, he did not forget that the road was no smoother, and this morning's meeting in Congress had brought the leaders of the march back to the real ground: they had been told that the prospects for passage of the Civil Rights Act were not bright.I don't know what he was thinking, but when it was his turn to speak, he spoke of a dream. In front of a quarter of a million people, he spoke of the dream the way one speaks of a dream in the flush of a rare revelation, in a circle of truly near and dear people, when you know that none of your words and feelings will be lost, that each one will cause a reciprocal, the most desirable current of unity and brotherhood in the world. But he had a great soul of a fighter and a poet, opened for his loved ones and for millions. And he had a big dream.- I dream of the day when, in the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners can sit together at the table of brotherhood. I dream of the day when even Mississippi, a state ridden with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.- I dream of the day when my four young children will live in a country where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by their characters.- I dream of the day when every valley will be elevated and every hill and mountain will be lowered. The rough places will be leveled and the crooked places will be straightened. With this faith I will return to the South. With the faith that out of the mountain of despair we can carve a rock of hope. With the faith that we can work together, pray together, fight together, go to prison together, stand up for freedom together, knowing that someday we will be free....- If we let freedom ring, if we let it ring in every city and town, in every state, we can bring closer the day when all God's children-black and white, believer and non-believer, Protestant and Catholic-can hold hands and in the words of the old Negro spiritual hymn say, "Free at last! Free at last! Great almighty God, we are free at last!"The dream was beautiful, unspeakably beautiful, and, beginning his speech parliamentarily calm and measured, knowing that he was now not only before this human sympathetic sea, but on the television screen of those who would rather be disgusted than staggered by emotion, King then blazed with passion and pain, the African ancestral televised parliament, rushing his words as if rushing his dream, as if gasping at how inexpressibly beautiful it was, and the Negroes in their crowd ecstatically shouted "Dream Again! Dream again!..."It was his greatest speech and his greatest day. And when he was killed, writers and journalists made history as the man who had a dream. "I have a dream" was the headline under which obituaries were printed, the headline under which photo albums and gramophone records came out instantly after the Memphis shooting - contradictory signs of respect for King and posthumous comllerations on that respect and love. And the last words of his famous speech were inscribed on a white headstone in Atlanta's Southern View Negro Cemetery: "Free at last. Free at last. Thank you, God Almighty, I'm free at last!"But then, after that great day in his life, after the march organizers' visit to the White House, where Philip Randolph, in the presence of the President of the United States, called the 34-year-old Negro from Atlanta "the moral leader of the nation," King returned to the South with the belief that "the rough places would be smoothed and the crooked straightened, that the night of racism would recede before the morning of brotherhood." And eighteen days after the Washington march, on the beautiful, sunny morning of September 15, Birmingham racists killed four girls by bombing a Negro Sunday school. This city had stood on blood since its earliest days, when it began as a small mining village. But such villainy had not even the history of this town known. And as if that villainy were not enough, as if concentrating the terrorist blows, on that same bloody Sunday, a white policeman killed another Negro child, and young white scoundrels killed a Negro teenager merrily riding a bicycle. Six innocent children ...The killers didn't pick targets, they took revenge on the entire race. "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" - with the murders in Birmingham they swore that oath-triad oath to Governor George Wallace, crossing out King's thrice proclaimed dream: "Free at last."Those killed in Birmingham were buried by honest Americans in various states North and South. In New York City, an official day of mourning was declared, a rally was held to again denounce the inaction of the federal government, Mayor Wagner, with good intentions and yet, as if in mockery, renamed Times Square "Equal Opportunity Square" for a day. Thousands of people mournfully demonstrated in Washington, DC.A solemn mass funeral was held in Birmingham on Sept. 18 - and not a single city official, not a single expression of official condolence, not a single white resident except for a few courageous priests."It wasn't just children who were buried that day," King recalled. - Honor and decency were also consigned to the earth."More than that, they wanted to commit his dream to the ground as well. The dream remained out of reach.The successes of the past summer were replaced by a sobering fall. The opposing side was tearing down the May agreement, which had been given to the Negroes with such great difficulty. The concessions in desegregation were tenuous and meager.White Birmingham, as before, displayed the traditional solidarity of hate and fear. Honest white citizens were still afraid to openly denounce racism. The FBI agents sent from Washington, D.C., as usual, could not find the killers: in the eighteen years after World War II, racists had bombed Negro churches and homes fifty times and had never been caught or punished. Governor Wallace took advantage of Sunday's killings to bring Colonel Lingo's road gendarmes into Birmingham Under the pretext of preventing riots, they occupied Negro neighborhoods, dispersed the inhabitants to their homes, and established an order of terror."You can get order by intimidating everyone, but that doesn't make your order legitimate .... Birmingham is not just a dying city, it's dead," were the words publicly hurled at racists by a young lawyer, Charles Morgan, a white Birmingham resident who dared to express feelings of shame, grief, and protest. He paid the price for that courage, for defying the brutal norms of circular bail. Attorney Morgan lost his clients and was forced to leave Birmingham.On November 22, the main shots of the 1963 massacre rang out in Dallas - the shots that killed President John F. Kennedy.At what intersection of what lightning bolts of hatred, revenge, and violence, which furrowed the American brain, was the idea of this assassination born? Dallas secrets are not the subject of my notes. But it is worth emphasizing that the general atmosphere of violence and intolerance in the country was thickened by the violent interracial conflicts of that year. Even President Kennedy's half-hearted civil rights measures earned him a deadly reputation as a "Negro lover." After the racial tensions of the spring, summer, and fall of 1963, his popularity plummeted. In November, a Gallup Institute poll showed that only 59 percent of Americans approved of the Kennedy administration's policies. A fall Louis Harris Institute poll registered an even more distinctive phenomenon - some 4.5 million white Americans who had voted for Kennedy in 1960 were now willing to vote against him. Had the election been held in the fall of 1963, President Kennedy would likely have been voted out - here's a not unreasonable illustration of the posthumous sentimental myth of the "beloved president." As for Birmingham, a curious phenomenon was discovered by Samuel Lubell, who conducted a random survey in neighborhoods populated predominantly by white workers. In 1960, Kennedy won a majority there. In the fall of 1963, only one of those polled was willing to give him his vote.In short, when the mass marches and protests of blacks stirred up the hornet's nest of racism, it revealed how many wasps were in that nest."While the question of who killed President Kennedy is important, even more important is the question of what killed him," King wrote in his book on the Birmingham events. - Our late president was put to death by a morally unfriendly climate..... By his death, President Kennedy says something important to us all. He says something to any politician who feeds his constituents the stale bread of racism and the rotten meat of hate. He says something to any priest who sees the evil of racizlla and yet remains silent, sitting safely behind the colored panes of his church.... He is telling us all that this virus of hate that has seeped into the veins of our nation will inevitably lead to our moral and spiritual ruin if we do not contain it."In her memoirs about King, his widow Coretta recalled the day of the assassination attempt in Dallas, the first reports of the president's wounding, how she and Martin sat in front of the television, waiting for more reports and praying for John F. Kennedy's life. When it was announced that the president had died, Martin was silent for a while. Then he said:<"The same thing is going to happen to me. I told you this is a sick society.""I could answer him nothing," Coretta writes. - I could do nothing to console my husband. I couldn't say, "It won't happen to you." I felt that he was right. The silence was terribly agonizing. I drew close to him and took his hand..."The paths of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King crossed more than once in their lifetime, both physically and politically. More often they were adversaries than allies, although in the last year of the president's life there was an uneasy and hardly lasting cooperation between them: for in Kennedy's view, the Negroes demanded too much and too fast, and in King's view, Kennedy did too little/slowly and indecisively. Both loved their country, but they had different views and different public cause.They were different men: a fierce fighter for justice and equality who grew into a denouncer of America's economic and social evils, of its very imperialist structure, and a bourgeois politician who expanded his understanding of the realities of U.S. domestic life and its place in the world of the second half of the 20th century, an enlightened servant of the ruling class.Both were assassinated, and while it would be absurd to weigh their chances of violent death in their lifetime, only one was an ascetic who knew what he was getting into, who committed himself to a selfless lifetime of service to an ideal, and the other was jokingly wondering what to do when he served his term in the White House and became a former president - too young to write his memoirs and too old to pursue any other career.As the voice of America's underprivileged and simply as a man sober and loving the truth, Martin Luther King did not share the posthumous myth of John F. Kennedy. A martyr? Yes. Hero? No.On the eve of his death, when King saw the unsolved problems in all their enormity and illusions disappeared, he was critical of Kennedy's and Johnson's achievements in the struggle for equality. "Virtually neither president has done much for the American Negro, although the last two presidents have received much undeserved praise for helping us," King wrote in an article published after his death.These praises, like percentages, went to Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy only because it was during their administrations that Negroes began to achieve more for themselves. Kennedy, as well as Johnson, agreed to the Civil Rights Act involuntarily. At one time both of them told us it was impossible."His words are not only true, but justified. King, like his associates, did not want the ruling official America to skim the cream of praise and recognition for the progress given to the Negro masses by hard struggle, blood, sacrifice....5 S. N. KondrashovAfter John F. Kennedy's funeral, when the nation was still reeling from the terrible shock, President Johnson, in his first speech to the U.S. Congress, said that the best memorial to the assassinated man would be the immediate passage of the Civil Rights Act, which Kennedy had introduced in the wake of the Birmingham events. The congressmen gave the president a long round of applause. But feelings of grief are short-lived and prejudice is tenacious. The bill stalled in Congress.The New York Times wrote about the bill: "Of course, it will not completely solve the racial problems in both North and South. But it is essential to make a beginning, to begin to eliminate the problem of race in the South. racial barriers... This is the last hope. There are too many signs today that young Negroes, desperate for justice in an orderly way, may turn to the tactics of anarchy."The mournful days of November have passed. December has passed. The Civil Rights Act of 1963 was renamed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but things did not move forward. Despite prodding from the White House, Congress procrastinated. Spring came. Racist Southerners in the Senate tormented the act with organized obstruction, which in congressional jargon is called filibustering. Twelve Senatorial filibusters blocked the cause for which 20 million Negroes had fought.In mid-May I traveled to Washington, D.C., to take a look at the descendants of the West Indies pirates of the seventeenth century. They had another adventurous predecessor, William Walker, an American citizen, a lawyer by training and a late flibusterer by vocation, who with a handful of henchmen colonized Nicaragua in 1855, made himself president there, and was put to the wall in Honduras in 1860. (However, I learned from congressional reference pamphlets that the Senate flibusters were looking for more honorable predecessors, in the person of the Roman senator Cato, who had obstructed Caesar himself.)It was the eleventh week of the Flibusters when we arrived on Capitol Hill and sat down with a companion on the round, bar-like stools of the press galleries. On the visiting gallery were adults and children, singles and excursions, whites and a dozen negroes. Stretching their necks and holding their breath - the very reverence - they looked down at the rectangular hall covered with soft soft carpet. Dark red polished tables the size of school desks rose in a gentle amphitheater. There were a hundred of them, the number of senators. The carved light doors yielded smoothly to the hand of the initiates. They did not look at the public looming from the galleries; they were experienced actors-politicians, they sensed it without looking.The room was empty. I counted only seven senators at the tables. The Senator from Virginia was speaking, with his venerable gray hair, his soft gestures, his thick stack of papers on a lectern extended from the table. And this is a flibusterer? He looked more like an absent-minded scholar, but don't believe appearances: they are deceptive. The senator was muttering something under his nose so softly that his speech could be recorded only by the trained ear of the stenographer, who was professionally slapping his fingers on the keys of his miniature typewriter. However, apart from the stenographer, only an inquisitive spectator was trying to hear the speaker. Colleagues at the tables were writing something, talking to each other, joking with each other, with their backs turned to Cicero. They were hardened men. As for yours truly, after a quarter of an hour, he caught himself in that very involuntary and uncontrollable yawning, which, in the poet's mischievous expression, "is wider than the Gulf of Mexico".Meanwhile, the senator from Virginia was whispering. He had at least four hours to speak, and he was taking care of his vocal cords. It was the fiftieth working day of the filibuster, everything was fine-tuned, as in a Chevrolet motor after a qualified checkup in a company workshop. Another senator without the slightest gap - and that was the whole trick - should turn on his vocal cords after the first, having prepared any reading material - from the Old Testament to the latest issue of a frivolous magazine - the latter, however, was not approved. What to read, what to talk about - does not matter in the slightest. It was important to kill time and at the same time the Civil Rights Act, delaying its discussion and the moment of voting.The nineteen filibusters were divided into three groups. On Tuesday and Friday, the group of Mississippi Senator John Stennis ranted from morning until evening. Monday and Thursday were taken up by a six-man team of Alabama Senator Lister Hill, Wednesday and Saturday by a six-man team led by Louisiana Senator Allen Ellender. There were bunks on the Senate sidelines in case of round-the-clock vigils.After spending two days on Capitol Hill, I heard a lot. The Southerners in the Senate had rich biographies and their own record-breakers. James Eastland, a reputed racist and Negro-hating Mississippi planter, while heading the Senate Law Committee, buried 120 different civil rights acts out of 121 that passed through his hands. Strom Thurmond's star has risen relatively recently. In 1958, he set an unrivaled record for flibbering, speaking for 24 hours and 18 minutes without interruption.Thurmond did not wish to talk to us, but in his office we were handed rotator-printed sheets under the heading "Strom Thurmond Reports to the People." From one report we learned that Negroes are Communists because Communists support Negroes. In another he explained his opposition to the desegregation act, "Property rights are the soil on which all human rights flourish." Specifically the concern for property rights was deciphered as follows: chase the Negro out of the cafeteria, the motel, the swimming pool. After all, they are generally owned by whites.This South Carolina thinker referred to obstruction as "enlightenment debate." Did he realize the underlying irony of his characterization? Regulars in the Senate press gallery remembered the 46th day of obstruction. A young Negro shouted from the guest gallery to the entire room lulled to sleep by the filibusters, "And these ones are deciding questions of equal rights? What squalor! What shame!" He was thrown out at once, but he realized that these elected men of the people had undertaken a mission which had failed the police sheepdogs of Birmenghem.But the filibusters fought a rearguard action. o delayed the moment of the vote because the Senate majority was not in their favor. They managed to weaken and emasculate some of the provisions of the act, but the efforts of President Johnson and the Democrats - northerners, led by Hubert Humphrey, who "ran" the act through the Senate, brought victory: the act collected the necessary two-thirds of votes in the Senate, and was also passed by the House of Representatives.On July 2, 1964, five hours after the House vote, President Johnson signed the act into law at the White House in front of television cameras."Those who are equal before God will now be equal in polling places, schools, factories, hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and other places of public accommodation," the prez explained the meaning of the law. Johnson looked triumphant, energetic, optimistic and humorous. He managed to make his signature under the text of the law, which consisted of forty-nine letters and punctuation marks, with ten-five pens. The prepared battery of pens was not enough, and the assistant brought new dozens. With regal familiarity, Johnson tossed the used pens to the senators and congressmen present at the ceremony. They gratefully caught them. In the long-standing presidential custom of bestowing commemorative pens on those who had pushed for its passage at the signing, Lyndon Johnson gave the law a Texas-sized touch. This law was the most important one he signed in the White House.Negro leaders were also invited to the ceremony. Dr. King stood behind the president, deftly grabbing new and new pens to aim them at the next senator, after drawing out some half-letter. Johnson and King congratulated each other. Johnson handed King a keepsake pen.- I'll keep it among my most treasured possessions," King said.And he added:- Actually, I'm owed a handful..... His remark was not immodest.Standing in full view of the U.S. president's office, among a host of congressmen and ministers, King rejoiced that the Civil Rights Act had finally been signed and considered it important, though not miraculous. But he knew without whom and without what it would not have happened-without the late-night, semi-secret meetings in room thirty of the Gaston Motel, without the teenagers who were not intimidated by dogs and fire hoses, without the two black students from Greensboro, N.C., Ezell Blair and Joseph McNeil, who on Feb. 1, 1960, staged the nation's first "sit-in" in the segregated diner of a Woolworth's store, without the tens and then hundreds and thousands of daredevils who followed their example, without the story of James Meredith, who joined the "lily-white" Ole Miss University despite mortal danger, without the murder of Medgar Evers in Jackson, without the brave young men in Greenwood who were hunted down with guns and chains as they sought Negro voter registration. ..The road to this act, which now made segregation of public accommodations illegal throughout the United States, went straight through a hard-fought campaign for the right to have a cup of coffee in Birmingham's launch counters.The path was littered with victims, and the final ceremony, the smiling, energetic president and the smiling, cheerful congressmen who were blissfully basking in the glow of television publicity, was the dark shadow of the most recent, unrevealed, but ghastly - everyone realized it - racist act.There were three of them, the oldest-24 years old. White Americans Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman had come from New York to Mississippi to give their summer vacation time to the cause of equality, and had befriended a local Negro, James Cheney. In a backwoods Mississippi county, they taught Negroes how to get rid of their oppressive fear of whites, and they would justly be due three of those seventy-five commemorative pens as well. But one day, two weeks before the White House ceremony, they were arrested in the Mississippi town of Philadelphia by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price, held until dark, and released into the night, a sweltering, cicada-filled Southern night. The cicadas were not the only ones awake that night. The three disappeared without a trace, and when the charred hulk of their car was found three days later in a desolate swamp, it was clear to all of America that they were gone forever.And there was another storm of outrage - I'm not afraid of the depressing word "another," because it's accurate - and Washington sent FBI agents, knowing that the local authorities would never find the perpetrators, and Navy sailors trawled the surrounding river in the hope of catching the bodies, and the newspapers were as loud as ever, all of which brought the solemn moment of the signing of the Civil Rights Act a few days closer. (The corpses of the three were not found until early August, buried deep in the red clay of a dam built around a cattle pond: they had been shot, the Negro Cheney mutilated. It wasn't until December that the FBI arrested the killers - Deputy Cecil Price was among them, as well as his chief, Lawrence Rainey).And now Johnson and Humphrey were getting their laurels, while King and other champions of equality were facing a new, not without risk, struggle to put the law into practice. The law abolished segregation, but it did not abolish racists and racism. In the South, George Wallace, Mississippi Governor Paul Johnson, and their henchmen were already shouting that they did not recognize the law and would try to overturn it by private judicial determinations. One had to accept this challenge as well.New thorns lay ahead, but King also had his share of laurels - laurels not insignificant. Honest America hailed him as one of the instigators of a strong constitutional attack on racism.It was a presidential election year, and the race issue, as well as attitudes toward the escalating Vietnam War, came to the forefront of the campaign. Reaction clustered under the banner of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. At the Republican convention in San Francisco, where the haberdashery millionaire and reserve aviation general became a candidate for the U.S. presidency, the Civil Rights Act was declared unconstitutional to a wild roar of approval, infringing on the sacred right of an American to dispose of his property. In the Senate Goldwater, too, voted against the act. George Wallace left the governor's residence in Montgomery and successfully toured the North, gaining quite a bit of support in the primary elections in several states, which indicated the existence of the so-called "white boomerang," that is, the opposition of racist philistines to slogans of equality.When Goldwater was elected as the Republican candidate, the Alabama governor, having given him his votes, temporarily abandoned the idea of a "third party."On the other hand, Johnson, a Democrat, beckoned Americans with slogans of "great society" and "war on poverty," promises not to expand the Vietnam conflict, and a prudent foreign policy. Against Goldwater's background, the Texan, who did not arouse much sympathy, looked, however, the embodiment of statesmanship, around him shone the halo of the defender of blacks. King preferred not to associate himself with one or the other of the two parties and in 1960 avoided the official choice between Kennedy and Nixon. But in 1964, Goldwater was too dangerous. At the Democratic convention in Atlantic City, King, like a number of other Negro leaders, sanctioned Johnson's candidacy. In November, Johnson received virtually all of the Negro electoral votes, which helped him defeat his opponent by a huge margin. Goldwater was defeated, but still 27 million Americans voted for him. There were many of them - voters who gave their votes to this only slightly disguised racist happy man - a man who would be "happy" to pull the trigger of a nuclear conflict.The fall of 1964 was a memorable one for King-October he lay in Atlanta's St. Joseph's Hospital for a few days for a medical checkup and to recover from the physical and nervous exhaustion of the past few months. The next day, a phone call rang in the room.- Martin! Martin! - shouted into the receiver a happy Coretta. - You have been awarded the Nobel Prize!The news was so unexpected and joyful that he did not believe it at once.Yes, he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.Martin Luther King became the second American-Southerner to receive the honorary award. The first was William Faulkner, the famous novelist who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949. Humanism was the common ground for these two Southerners - white and Negro, the descendant of aristocrats and the grandson of a poor man, sober realist-psychologist, reflecting the complex world of the South, and a fiery preacher, determined to change the world. Faulkner said that in our time, "to be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow".He lived, alas, not in Alaska, but in the town of Oxford, Mississippi, on the campus of Ole Miss, a "lily-white" university that had not admitted a single Negro in its hundred-plus years of existence. He died in 1962, but it was not the great writer's death that riveted the attention of America, and not just America, to Oxford that year, but the enrollment of a 29-year-old Negro, James Meredith, as a student at Ole Miss. On the night of September 30-October 1, hundreds of Ole Miss pups, scions of the South's "best families," marched to storm the university's Lyceum, led by a man in a wide-brimmed Texas hat who came from Dallas - the fascist retired General Edwin Walker. They wanted to pulverize the "nigger" and his guards, but their arms were short and they left the night's battlefield. This brutalized mob proved that William Faulkner, the literary maestro of Ole Miss, could not convince all his students that the idea of equality of races is as natural as snow in Alaska.Now the Nobel laureate was a second Southerner, a man for whom the meaning of life was to make this idea of equality natural to all. And if we remember Faulkner again, King, through his experience as a fighter, had long ago internalized the advice that the old Southern gentleman addressed in his "Nobel speech" to young writers: "forget forever" about fear. In ten years, the Baptist pastor had been to prison thirty times. In Oslo, at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, King took his wife, father, brother, and Ralph Abernethy, who was imprisoned with him thirty times and became an eternal comrade not only in the struggle, but also - as King joked - in the prison cell.On a December evening in Oslo, solemnly austere, dressed in an appropriate black tailcoat, full of dignity, he accepted an honorary award as the leader of the American Negroes.In Oslo, he spoke not only as a herald of equality and justice for his country's black stepchildren. He spoke as a man concerned with the fate of the world, rejecting "the cynical assumption that one nation after another must descend down the spiral of the militaristic ladder into the hell of thermonuclear destruction". He spoke of the deprivation to which hundreds of millions of people in the world are subjected, calling for a "general world war on poverty" - "not only on its symptoms, but on its basic causes."Crowned with Nobel laurels, King returned to America. In New York, a series of gala banquets and receptions awaited him. At the airport in his native Atlanta - oh wonder! - white southerners were asking him for autographs. In Washington, D.C., he was the guest of honor.The country could be proud of such a son, and he wanted to be proud of his country - was it not in this country that a clueless Negro priest could, in just nine years, develop a remarkable talent as a public figure and become a figure of world caliber?He could have been the Negro who, like a gilded toy, is comforted by other "second-class citizens." But King did not want to be a "symbolic Negro" like Ralph Bunche, one of the deputy secretaries-general of the United Nations. And King knew how to get rid of vanity and ambition, thinking not of his merits, but of the scale of unsolved problems. He was impossible to tame.- Every day I live under the threat of death. What a beautiful contrast when you hear nice words from people now," he said at a mass reception in New York. - I wish I could stay on this peak, but the valley is calling me - the valley of despair. I must go down into that valley.And he descended into the valley. After taking off his black tailcoat and giving every last penny of his 54,000 Nobel dollars to the movement, in January 1965 he chose as his "interlocutor" not King Olaf of Norway, not President Johnson of the United States, and not Paul VI, the Pope, but Jim Clark, a police sheriff in Selma, Alabama. Martin Luther King once again pointed the spear of "direct action" against racism.Laureate took his men into the streets of this city of 14,400 whites and 15,100 Negroes. He opened a protracted campaign for the right of Negroes to register to vote--without property qualifications, discriminatory tests of loyalty, literacy, or ability to "interpret" the state constitution. Negroes made up more than 40 percent of Alabama's population, but their political weight in elected office was zero, and there were rare thousands of them on the voter rolls. The state resembled the Tuskegee township described in the preceding chapter. The famous act of 1964, while affirming the right of Negroes to vote, did not guarantee that right to Sheriff Clark, Jord. j. Wallace, and others.Jim Clark was as tough and stubborn as a Birmingham Bull, and Selma was indifferent to the truths proclaimed at Oslo - about the efficacy of nonviolence.And again, swinging the bell of freedom, day after day, march after march King led hundreds of Negroes to the county courthouse where the registrars were housed. Day after day Jim Clark and his men intercepted, dispersed, and arrested the marchers. For loners who managed to make their way into the courthouse, the registrars administered the kind of "literacy exams" that even learned philologists could not withstand. Once a racist attacked King and managed to punch him twice in the temple before the police intervened."We shall overcome," the Negroes sang. "Never!" - read the plaque Jim Clark pinned to his chest next to the sheriff's star.In seven weeks, 2,000 people were jailed."When the Norwegian king participated in presenting me with the Nobel Peace Prize, he certainly did not think that in less than sixty days I would be back in jail .... Why prison? This is Selma, Alabama. There are more Negroes in prison than there are on the voter rolls," King wrote while behind bars.When a policeman killed Jimmie Jackson, a Negro lumberjack, King announced a mass march from Selma to the state capital, Montgomery. On March 7, on the outskirts of Selma, the marchers were dispersed and brutally beaten AND iz^il by policemen sent by Governor Wallace. Mounted gendarmes chased the Negroes, crowding them, trampling them. "Well, negro girl, you want to march? March now!" - shouted a horseback rider as he caught up with an old woman running away. 78 Negroes were wounded.This is how Alabama welcomed a Nobel laureate.But again racist violence objectively came in handy for King. Again, death, blood, and broken ribs were the price to be paid for public attention. The echoes of the Alabama massacre swept across America and generated a wave of sympathy and support.King announced a second march from Selma to Montgomery.Fearing bloodshed, federal authorities intervened and banned the march. White Americans who had traveled from everywhere to join the ranks of the march were met with unrelenting hatred. James Reeb, a white minister from Boston, was beaten to death by racists who caught him at the door of a Negro restaurant in Selma, where he had gone for lunch. Then Viola Liuzzo, a white housewife from Detroit and mother of five children, was killed while driving a car. Now the events in Selma were growing to the size of a national crisis. Now, like the Birmingham events a year ago, they had forced the President of the United States to speak.And the third attempt at a march succeeded. They reached Montgomery - guarded by federal troops assigned by the White House.King held a speech in the plaza in front of the Montgomery Capitol, where state legislators sit. The Capitol building stands near Dexter Church, where King began his new life a decade ago, during the days of the bus boycott. He used to walk out onto the porch to see the Alabama congressional dome to his right. A whole spiral of life he had traveled since then, and now, back in the pouring spring rain in Montgomery, he held a speech and an answer to those who were growing impatient to know when it would all be over. They told us we wouldn't get here. And there were some who said we would only get here over their dead bodies, but the whole world knows that we are here now. And we stand in front of the Alabama authorities and say, "We're not going to let anybody mess with us..."I know you are asking today, "How long will it last?" I want to tell you today that no matter how difficult the moment, no matter how discouraging the hour, it will not last long, because the defeated truth will surely rise. How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever. How long? Not long, because you will reap what you have sown.....The Selma campaign had two outcomes, expressed in numbers. Three dead, dozens maimed, 3,800 arrested. And only 50 Negroes added to the voter rolls. But there was a third outcome. Negroes secured another law from the U.S. Congress-the Special Voting Rights Act of 1965-that gave the federal government, not the racists of the South, the right to appoint registrars in charge of compiling the voter rolls. On August 6, 1965, President Johnson signed the act into law in the congressional building. Martin Luther King was among those present at the ceremony.RIOTS IN THE GHETTOI slammed and locked my apartment door - I learned how to lock it three years ago after a small theft, when an experienced detective showed me how easy it was to break through a slammed but unlocked door: he asked for my UN pass, sealed in plastic, slipped it into the gap between the jamb and the door, gently and deftly pressed the tongue of the English lock and opened the door with the grin of a magician who does not work to his full potential in front of simpletons. So I locked the door, not forgetting to give a good word to the man in the black suit, who didn't pull out his pass, because, in my deep conviction, he was not just a detective of our twentieth police station, like his partner, but - take it higher! - an F.B.I. agent who had responded to a Soviet newspaper article about a theft in the New York office of Izvestia; the thieves had never been found, but I had learned his advice firmly.I walk along the soft blue carpet of the long corridor to the elevator platform. Let's imagine: I press the buttons on both sides of the platform - the passenger and black elevators. And now both - I can hear their smooth running - roll up to the eighth floor, with a slight rustle, slowed down by the hands of the elevators to the grooves of their doors. In front of me there are two elevators to choose from: a clean, all in nickel, passenger elevator and not dirty, tidy, but with cardboard boxes in the corner, with the smell of garbage and rot, freight elevator. And two elevators. One for the tenants. The other for stuff and trash. One is white. The other is Negro. The affable, gray-haired Mike makes an inviting gesture with a white gloved hand that seems to demonstrate the sterile hygiene of his elevator. The lopsided, scowling Negro looks puzzled: why was he called in when the passenger elevator is free and the tenant is standing by himself, without a pile of suitcases and cartons?The Negro is most obliging before Christmas, when his elevator and help are needed to elevator cases of whiskey, gin, and vodka up to the eighth floor. There are many elevators, ushers, letter carriers, and garage keepers at the Schwab House on Riverside Drive, and at Christmas, going over them all in your memory, fearing not to spoil relations with anyone for the whole year, you find that at least thirty-five to forty bottles are used for the obligatory Christmas presents. The sight of the boxes of stickers brings the Negro out of his eternal slumber. Realizing what's going on, he changes the democratic "Mr." to the respectful "Sir." His capacious cart, covered with sailcloth, appears. The two of us move the boxes from the trunk of the car to the bottom of the cart, through the narrow passage, through the black door, the negro rolls it cheerfully to the black elevator, in the elevator he turns it around so that the owner of the boxes would not be cramped, so that the owner would not touch the walls, on which invisible traces of garbage from three hundred apartments of a large building.He presses a metal lever, and with the precious cargo we smoothly take off down the floors, smoothly and precisely braking at the eighth floor. And then on the carpet of the corridor he rolls the crates into the apartment, to his wife he says. (< UD ivning, ma'am!", asks with a look where to put the goods, hesitates at the door, because the tenants usually don't let him go any further. When he's done, he straightens up and waits. And I offer him the first in a long line of those eager to congratulate me on the feast of Christ to choose from any drawer. And the Negro chooses Scotch whiskey.It often stinks. More often at Christmas and more than usual. He looks gaunt, his eyes are inflamed, his lips are gray and caked, he never looks directly into his eyes, as if he were guilty of something, and he shakes his head like a hunted horse in a last attempt to shake off the tremendous fatigue and anguish of death. He must be in his fifties. He will go nowhere higher; he dreams of one thing, perhaps, and that is that for the rest of his life he will travel between floors on this elevator, carrying the belongings of tenants moving in and out, picking out from the "trash rooms"-these rooms near the freight elevator on each floor-the abundant refuse of American families, which, thank God, are neatly stacked in bags and cartons.He dreams of being a member of this garbage for the rest of his life, but they might kick him out, because he stinks too often. He's got his own world that none of the tenants care about. His own joys and sorrows. His buddies are Negro women who work as maids in this house where many rich people live. They prefer the freight elevator, although they can use the passenger elevator - there is no segregation here - and the Negro manly supervises them. He's not the weakest creature in their company. And they probably have their secrets and their frank opinions about the inhabitants of the house, about the manager, about Charlie, the "captain" who commands all the ushers and elevators. But shhhh... Secrets and opinions remain between the floors.There is a negro in our half of the house who always rides in the passenger side. He is a rich man because he lives on the fifteenth floor, where the apartments are very expensive. Self-confident, with a beautiful Negro wife. The symbolic Negro of our house?There are other Negroes in the house, but not among the tenants or even among the half-dozen ushers on duty at the front glass doors-they are all white. There is a Negro in the dry cleaner's shop that rents space on the first floor. Handsome, thin, with an intelligent face, he delivers to the tenants - on wire hangers, in cellophane packaging - cleaned, ironed clothes. He happened to knock on that memorable day when two detectives were sitting with us, asking what had been stolen and whether the door was locked, not just slammed. And the experienced door opener glanced at the Negro who had emerged with a hanger on the doorstep, and I read in that glance, "Well, for instance, this black boy could have gotten into your apartment by the simple method I just demonstrated..."I did not respond to that look.There are negroes in the garage under the house, and now we have to make a delayed choice between two elevators and two elevators. Either one will take me down to the semi-basement floor, which, so as not to offend those who live there, is called the garden floor. I pass the garden floor corridor and go out the back door, but I don't go outside, I turn left, count half a dozen steps down, and open the door to the garage. On the right side of the door, a large, black, shiny Cadillac is permanently parked in its place, and it is especially well cared for. On top of its radio antenna is an artificial rose. For a residential house, the garage is not small - for a hundred cars. The spirit of the underground, populated by cars. They stand in tight rows, crammed into the space between the gray columns with jewel-like precision. On Friday and Saturday evenings, cars come in one after another, all the aisles are jammed; to feed one to the exit ramp, you have to move a dozen from place to place. This is the work of virtuosos, maneuvering the cars as easily as a trained man maneuvers his body. They feel the rear bumper as if it were their own back of the head, and take care of it as well. The engine roared once in the habitual hands, a sharp jerk back, another to the right, forward, left, back again, and again a sharp brake, and now the car was in the row and, springing, swaying on the springs, froze five centimeters from the column, the collision with which would threaten to spoil its virgin beauty.In an underground micro-kingdom of cars, one of thousands in New York City, Negroes are in charge. In 1962, when I moved from Park Avenue to Riverside Drive, where there is less respectability but more air from the Hudson, the garage was run by whites by day and Negroes by night. I don't know if it's progress, but now the Negroes are there twenty-four hours a day. One of them - the oldest and the most benevolent - works into the dark hours of the night. The oldest is the youngest - thin, flexible, graceful. Two strongmen - one, of medium height and unusually broad-chested and shouldered, would probably make a heavyweight, the other, tall and angular - a boxer. How generous African genes are for physical strength! The fifth, always with his hat pulled back, was comical in appearance, with mild manners.These are working people. There is no menialism in them with its amplitude from boorishness to subservience, a menialism that is generally alien to Americans engaged in the vast service industry. Sometimes they are harsh, they reprimand you offensively, if you have not warned in advance that you will pick up your car at such-and-such an hour, and they have driven it to the farthest corner and now extract it, shuffling other cars. They clearly fulfill their duties, but they also know their rights, they have their own dignity. They are usually taciturn and not very friendly. Of course, they're busy. But they are hardly as somber in their Harlem homes, with their families and friends. In this scowl I see the constant work mood of the Negro who works for the white man, who feeds - one by one - cars to the ramp and all white, white, white - one is forced to draw conclusions from this.Now I went down to the garage in the afternoon, it was almost empty, and a Negro with his hat piled on top of his head quickly rolled out my lagoon-green Chevrolet.I emerged from the dungeon into the light of 74th Street, turned right, then, after crossing Three Avenues and Broadway, left, and drove north along the western edge of Central Park.I was on my way to Harlem, which at this point begins at 106th Street, beyond the northern boundary of the park.It was a warm, sunny October afternoon.The stone barrier of the park and the greenery that had not yet faded glimmered on the right, while on the left were the gray walls of houses, the grand staircase of the Museum of Natural History, and the brown tall buildings of West Central Park Village.When the avenue is free of cars, you can skip nine or ten "blocks" - blocks sliced by straightaways - in one green light. Harlem was no more than four stops away at the red forbidden eye of a traffic light. Ten minutes. But even in ten minutes a lot of things will flash through your brain if you're replaying old thoughts and observations that you live with day in and day out.I thought about the fact that I was no longer new to New York, that it had been five long years, that I had lost and regained interest in the city many times. More than once I had visited Harlem alone and with colleagues, as well as with visiting Muscovites, who usually wondered why these quite decent-looking (though old) houses with zigzagging fire escape ladders on the walls were called slums. Was there for rallies during the day and bars in the evenings. I visited Harlem on a July evening in 1964, when, after a long lull, there was another riot, and on the famous 125th Street - the "transit" street leading to the bridges to Queens - I saw no whites on the sidewalks or in cars, except for white "cops" - in helmets, two and three at intersections, with their backs to each other, as if in a circular defense. Everything went off safely. They never laid a finger on me.Why, however, neglecting this personal experience, was I again haunted by anxiety, as on that December evening in the streets of Negro Chattanooga? A long ago trip to the southwest of Sudan, to the province of Kardofan, came to mind. There, in the town of El Obeid, and then in the savannah and among the black rocks, where lives a wild tribe of Nuba, catching curious glances of "natives", I somehow suddenly understood their meaning, for the first time realized myself the only white in the mass of black people. But there was no such anxiety then. And it seemed there was nowhere for it to come. In New York, it's like a never-ending obsession.My wife, fortunately, has escaped the bacillus of the highly contagious "domestic racism". Why is it that when she walks with one-year-old Kolya and ten-year-old Tanya in the square by the Hudson River, next to other women and children, she is involuntarily wary of unfamiliar Negro boys? The criminal chronicles of newspapers and television, so often announcing that the caught criminal - a Negro, learned stories, how this or that friend "snatched her purse and ran away", feed this fear and anxiety. But are these feelings alone?When you live in America for a long time, you gradually become imbued with the "guilt complex" that conscientious Americans talk and write about - the collective historical guilt for everything that has been done to the Negroes, although what does this have to do with your ancestors and yourself? And from this "complex" the same conscientious Americans get the feeling, sometimes instinctive, irrational, that these people, these Negroes from Harlem, were acquiring their own, reckless, targetless, collective right to revenge, as long as they were maimed by a history that has dragged them down to the present day, when they are doomed to live in the ghetto.Harlem lay thirty blocks from the white neighborhood where our house, the Schwab House, stood. But with each passing year Harlem drew closer. By day and evening, its inhabitants infiltrated the white neighborhoods with a kind of spycraft-not only the messenger boys in the stores and dry cleaners, the waiters in the restaurants, the temperamental jazz players in the Beacon Bar, the prostitutes propping up the evening windows, but also the timid little man , asking for a quarter because he had just arrived from Tennessee and had not yet settled down, and the desperate flocks of young men who, on sweaty summer evenings, prowled the Broadway sidewalks while passersby huddled on the curb, fearful of their arch strength.More and more blacks settled in the cheap old houses of the side-streets. And more and more whites with money, renouncing Manhattan, went to the suburbs, where the air is cleaner, the life is quieter, and the barriers to Negroes are stronger, both in dollars and in the many tricks that landowners use to keep land from being sold to Negroes, because the price of land will go down if a Negro settles among whites. This white flight was part of that general process, labeled by the biblical word "exodus," by which the white population of New York City declined by more than a million during the postwar years, while the Negro and Puerto Rican populations increased by almost as much.But now I had entered Harlem and began a visual reconnaissance, circling its central thoroughfares and side-streets. There were no whites at all on the side streets. There were some on the center ones, but rarely and more in cars. Police officers loomed at the intersections, Negroes among them - after the Harlem riot of 1964, one Negro had jumped the ranks, been promoted to captain, and now commanded the entire ghetto police force.I didn't dare to leave the car in one of the side streets: I didn't know if they'd damage it, if they'd put a brick in my Chevrolet. I parked at the intersection of 125th and 7th Avenues, within sight of the policeman, and, getting out, looked around to be sure. There were no barbed stares.So I left the car and walked carelessly down the Harlem sidewalks, growing in my own eyes in a boyish way and trying to self-critically restrain the process of such growth. I was growing in my own eyes, however, remembering to fixate on "cops" and white passersby as potential anchors of salvation. Still, this was Harlem - not only a large but also a relatively "passable" ghetto with many white merchants and loan sharks, where businessmen, city employees, and politicians drop in for business, and one more white person on its sidewalks did not make an impression.125th looks like an ordinary downtown, shopping and entertainment street in the States. Except, of course, there is no gloss and pomp of Fifth Avenue, the stores are poorer, there is more trash at the movie theater canopies, the doors and bar counters are flatter. And all black people, black mannequins in the windows, black characters on movie posters, books about Black Africa, about Black America in bookstores. A world of its own with its own color. He was beginning to be proud of that color, not ashamed of it, and the Harlem walls were already painted with the slogan: "Black is beautiful!" - "Black is beautiful!"There was no one at the headquarters of the "Student Nonviolent Action Coordinating Committee." Mimeograph-printed announcements hung on the locked door. The committee's new expansive leader, Stokely Carmichael, a young man with the chocolate chiseled face of a Nubian god, had stirred America with the slogan "black power."After getting no clarification about "black power" at the locked door on the dirty staircase, I went to lunch at Harlem's famous Frank's Chop restaurant - on 125th Street between Eighth Avenue and St. Nicholas Square. There the "black power" looked acceptable to the whites. The latter were as numerous as the former, but in outward appearance the former were not inferior to the latter - black bourgeois in "business suits," groomed black beauties. The black waiters were dignified and solid. Seeing another white face, the black maitre d', without blinking an eye, escorted me to a free table.In the green water of the aquarium cage under the fresh stream, elastically bubbling from the hose, crawled, wiggling whiskers, pink lobsters, not yet in the oven. Near the entrance, at an honorable distance from the Others, stood a special table. "Mayor's Corner," the sign above the table announced, and there hung a donated photograph of John Lindsay, New York's mayor, a young man with a handsome, manly face. In the photograph, the smiling mayor sat in his "corner" at Frank's Chop.While I was waiting for the Texas-style fried bones, a voice on the internal radio informed, "Ladies and gentlemen, it is our pleasure to announce that we have Senator Javits as our guest. He has just arrived and is now dining in our restaurant," Jacob Javits was the senior senator from New York State, although he was less known to the outside world than Robert Kennedy, then the junior senator from the same state. Both senators often visited Harlem.The peace and comfort of the Frank's Chop restaurant suggested that fears might be exaggerated, that things were going well in Harlem. If it were not, would Senator Javits, Mayor Lindsay, and all those whites who chatted amicably with Negroes over a good meal and a draught martini in the middle of a neighborhood that had been wrongly branded a ghetto?But after paying for the food and comfort, I left Frank's Chop, turned left, walked just a few steps down 125th Street and up the stairs to the headquarters of the New York branch of the Congress of Racial Equality, a nationwide Negro organization, which had given many fighters for equality, for desegregation and civil rights (among them were the three who had fallen into eternity near the Mississippi town of Philadelphia), and which now endorsed the slogan "black power." There were several young Negroes there, among them two guys who were energetic to the point of abruptness - Wilbert Kirby, the organization's vice-president, and Robert Harris, its treasurer.Their first reaction was openly hostile. The journalism profession was no longer of much help in such meetings, although the time had not yet come when militant Negro leaders stopped letting white reporters into their press conferences altogether. It helped that I was a Soviet journalist - curiosity prevailed.Here is a transcript of our conversation, omitting my questions. Kirby and Harris thought alike, and I was interested in their reasoning. I noted a change in terminology. They did not speak of Negroes, but of blacks. They used another word, African-Americans. The word "Negro," coined by whites, seemed to radical Negroes almost as offensive as the derogatory "nigger."- Black? We think black is beautiful. We're not going to deny our color. I used to take offense to being called black. Now I love the word.- "Black power"? We need it to unite. After all, at one time other minorities in America who fought for their rights - Jews, Irish, Italians - were united. In this slogan, whites see a danger to the power structure that signifies white power. They ask us, "What do you mean by 'black power'? Doesn't that mean you're going to do to them what we've done to you for three hundred years?" No, we're not going to do that. But we do want political and economic unification of blacks.- The very words "black power" came about as a means to attract the masses, to unite them with an understandable slogan. They're simple, but they're expressive. You know how important unity is when you're trying to achieve something.- Roy Wilkins just has black skin, but he's not black. He thinks white, he has a white soul. We think of him as a white man.- We're trying to make blacks proud of being black. Of course, you'd have to fight for human rights, not civil rights. If you're recognized as a human being, you'll have civil rights.- You say that the human being comes first, that skin color is not the most important thing. We agree. You can certainly guess that we know this as well as you do. But this country has been a racist country from the beginning. They don't recognize us as human beings. Sure, color doesn't matter, but what do they look at when you walk in the door? First of all, your color. A black man in his fifties or sixties they don't consider a man, they insult him with the nickname boy.- George Washington, the father of their country, traded slaves. Do you think he would have traded whites?- In the Civil War, the North won militarily, but the South still won ideologically. Isn't that right? Isn't the existence of this ghetto in the North an ideological victory for the South?- If they didn't need us, they would have wiped us out like the Nazis wiped out the Jews. Anyway, they destroyed our history. Take the schools in New York. There is European history there, but no Negro history. By destroying our history, they are destroying us too, robbing us of our roots.- Our enemies are the white Anglo-Saxons, the Protestants, but they want to turn everyone against us - the Irish, the Jews, etc. And we are not enemies of anyone, we are fighting for existence. I emphasize that this is a fight for human rights, not civil rights. We don't need all these civil rights acts.- What did they do when they killed four black girls in Birmingham? They didn't send troops against George Wallace. And when the civil war broke out in Vietnam, they moved in with all their might to defend their system there too.- Now whites are grabbing their heads, "What have we done? In school we taught blacks what whites are. Now they know whites perfectly. But we don't know anything about blacks."Their words revealed little new to me. They were valuable not for their novelty, but for their typicality, because they confirmed once again the thoughts and attitudes typical of radical, politically active young Negroes. The categorical division into whites and blacks, which removes the very important question of different whites and different blacks, the catchy but vague notions of "thinking white" and "thinking black" - all this may alert the reader, as it alerted me, although I realized that one extreme is always fraught with overlap to the other side and that it is difficult to expect balance from those who have been victims of racial extremism for so long. This weakness was immediately picked up by the "big press", accusing the radicals of black racism and trying to compromise the slogan "black power". Meanwhile, this slogan, if freed from its tantalizing shell, had a rational grain and practicality. The Negroes really needed to unite politically, to use their economic weight (at least their purchasing power, which American businessmen cannot ignore) and their votes to achieve their goals outside the two ruling bourgeois parties, which were trying to solve the Negro problem according to the rules of "political soccer". It is no accident that the slogan "black power" was supported by the Communist Party of the United States.There was more social and political truth in the conversation on the second floor than in the cozy atmosphere of racial unity at Frank's Chop, where it was local and therefore deceptive. It was not this restaurant truth that Harlem was living in October 1966-a year after the uprising in Los Angeles' Watts ghetto and nearly a year before the riots in Newark and Detroit."For how long?" - was the rhetorical question King posed at the end of the second part of our story, coming in defiance of the racists from Selma to Montgomery. "Not long!" - he answered those who were losing patience. The "alas" problems grew, not diminished. The sarcasm of my Harlem interlocutors regarding the Civil Rights Acts was not unfounded. The Acts, obtained by dedicated struggle, were certainly beneficial. The very course of the struggle straightened the American Negro, taught him determination and dignity. But when the Negro received civil rights under the law, he saw more sharply than ever before: he had been given formal equality while retaining actual inequality; it was not a matter of perfecting the law, but of removing the fundamental flaws in the system.While in the South King and others were swaying the Negro masses, battering the system of racism with battering ram marches, discovering that this system had the properties not only of a solid wall but also of a viscous mire that swallowed up everything and everyone, in the North the ghettos were bursting with black rage.The center of events was moving there, and this forces me to temporarily divert from my hero, to make a retreat into the realm of the ghetto riots that shook America. It is necessary to understand King's evolution in the last period of his life.I turn from my modest testimony to more convincing testimony, to the testimony of statistics and of people who grew up in the ghetto, Negro writers who, unlike the white journalist Griffin, do not need to recolor themselves to understand the soul of the American Negro.Contemporaries crowned James Baldwin's journalistic book with the honorable title of prophetic. Honorable and accurate, because the prophecy was not slow to come true. "Next time - fire" - burned the red letters of the title on the black, like ashes, the cover of this book, released in 1962 by a New York publisher. Baldwin, a child of Harlem, passionately warned his countrymen in the words of an old Negro slave song, "God gave Noah the rainbow sign: No more water - the fire next time!" - "God sent Noah the rainbow sign: no more flood, the fire next time."And the first fire broke out two years later - a riot in Harlem.This book was like a signal rocket that flew into the night of ignorance and indifference and plucked out of the darkness the approaching loose ranks of a spontaneous army of vigilantes."The intransigence and ignorance of the white world make retribution inevitable-a retribution that does not depend even on any individual or organization ... that cannot be stopped by any police or army: a historical retribution, a cosmic retribution based on that law we recognize when we say that 'all that is exalted shall fall,'" Baldwin wrote.And the blind, unrestrained elements of the riots proved in their own way the figurative accuracy of the warning of a "cosmic retribution" independent of any individual or organization. Hoover's professional detectives, scouring Detroit and Newark, confirmed five years later what Baldwin had predicted: the rebels had neither leaders nor organization.James Baldwin became my first absentee guide to Harlem. With his book, he took me not only into the streets and wastelands of Harlem, and into the family that celebrated with bitter joy the birth of little James, Baldwin's nephew, to whom he dedicated his insights; but also into the confused, fractured soul of the ghetto dweller, languishing with pain and hatred.The white New Yorker, shunning the ghetto, sees dark-skinned people in his part of the city. Baldwin traced their journey from their origins. "They get up in the morning and drive to Downtown to meet 'the man,'" Baldwin wrote. - They work in the white man's world all day and return home to their stinking neighborhood in the evening. They struggle to instill in their children any sense of honor and personal dignity, to help the child survive."Baldwin delved into the psychology of white police officers on the intersections and sidewalks of Harlem: "What in this world could be more irritating than the silent, years of accumulated human contempt and hatred? And a policeman walks through Harlem like an occupying soldier in an implacably hostile country, and that's exactly what it is, and that's why they walk in pairs and threes."One must sense the enemy in this policeman from the earliest black childhood, one must examine him long enough with an eye of hatred and fear. And then the thought will come as an epiphany: "The white policeman standing on the corner of a Harlem street is in the very center of the revolution that is taking place in the world today. He is not prepared for it."I met James Baldwin when, justifying his prophecies, a succession of "long hot years" was already underway. The pet of Harlem was renting an apartment outside of Harlem, in a building on the corner of West End Avenue and 88th Street. He knew how destructive the ghetto life was to the human personality. In the 50-ies Baldwin lived for a long time in Paris, where, unable to bear the atmosphere of his native country, moved a lot of Negro writers, artists, artists - the late black version of the "lost generation", which in the 20-ies gave Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and others. He experienced deep despair, thought of not returning to his homeland at all, but the intensification of the struggle for equality stirred up new hopes, Parisian asylum became a shelter for the deserter. Since the early 60-ies Baldwin threw himself into the waves of this struggle as one of its most fiery and expressive heralds. It is true that, as before, he was whisked away to France and Greece to write; in New York, he told me, there were no opportunities for creative concentration.It was difficult to catch him, and it was not without excitement that I stood one fine morning in the hallway of his New York apartment, hearing Gloria, the writer's sister, exclaim loudly: "Jimmy, there's a man from Izvestia to see you!"Jimmy came out of his room - a man of short stature, with a small face, on which stand out an expressive mouth and large bulging eyes. Slim, as agile in his movements as a dancer. Nothing of the wrestler, the tribune, the vitia. But when he is excited, immediately makes itself known bolduinskogo temperament, beating in books, essays, speeches at rallies. Passionate round eyes flash with a strong fire: such a fire is enough to last a lifetime, though it may shorten it - it is the fire of self-immolation.- Civil rights? - he said, and his voice swelled with anger at the fact that someone still does not understand the obvious truths. - Civil rights?! This is a scandal! It's not a question of civil rights, because I've been here on this land for centuries. It's about the emancipation of Negroes. And not just negroes.He returned to his favorite idea of the seemingly strange and yet understandable psychological interdependence of oppressor and oppressed - that racism cripples not only the oppressed but also the oppressors, robbing them of their humanity. He developed this theme in his play Blues for Mr. Charlie, dedicated to the Mississippi Negro leader Medgar Everes, who was murdered by racists in 1963.6 S. N. Kondrashov- They might kill me because of the color of my skin, he said, pacing the room where books shared space with gramophone records, boxes of tape recordings and a stereo system: he needed the bitterly passionate longing of the blues like a tuning fork. But I'm not in prison - I'm talking about a spiritual prison. I know that a man is a man, but a lot of people in this country don't know that.... The whites don't know who the Negroes are, and therefore they don't know who they are.... Whites have illusions that they can coddle or even kill a person because of the color of their skin or the cut of their eyes. Blacks have no illusions from childhood - they know who white people are. We need to change reality...I left with some difficult impressions. Is he free? On a personal level, yes, although he jokes that he'd rather not show his face in the South with the Blues. Popular. He is not afraid of the authorities - on the contrary, Robert Kennedy, when he was Secretary of Justice, sought Baldwin's favor, because the White House needed the authority of the writer in the circles of Negro intellectuals. The idol of student youth - both white and black. Many friends among white Americans, and they do not humiliate, but respect him. He is a member of the intellectual elite of New York, where the pass is not the color of skin, but intelligence and talent. Scourges the vices of America, but his books are published; after all, they bring publishers income, and a lot. Lots of readers. "Next Time, Fire" was a bestseller. As a writer, he can express himself to the fullest.So what does a person need? It is a naive question, if we are talking about a person - a citizen, who is connected with society, who cares about its problems. Man really needs the whole world - a world organized justly. The more empathetic and observant a man is, the more painfully he is tormented by the unsettledness of the world. And so Baldwin is a prisoner of one theme. He is doomed to write about people with black skin, not just people. At the risk of stepping on a sore callus, I asked if Jimmy was going to take some other, non-Negro theme from the countless themes of human existence He said he was thinking about it.But if he cheated on the Negro theme, he would be cheating his people and his talent and would be doomed as a writer. He knows this, of course. When I asked his opinion of contemporary American writers, Baldwin replied sharply, "In a broad sense I don't know what they write about."In a narrow sense, of course, he understands what they write about. But as a Negro writer, he refuses to understand how anyone can write about anything else until the root issue of freedom and justice is resolved.Let's return, however, to Baldwin's words on civil rights. His assessment was the same as that of the activists of the "Congress of Racial Equality." Not so long ago, desegregation of public accommodations was seen as central to equality. Now it was spoken of sarcastically. The right to sit elbow-to-elbow on a stool with a white man behind the counter of a Southern diner did not solve all problems. The civil rights struggle, led in the South by King, was proving to be a necessary but not sufficient condition for actual equality. The abolition of the humiliating "Whites Only" signs was useful mainly to the Negro bourgeoisie, which reacted painfully to the diminution of social prestige. The signs were removed, but poverty, unemployment, and uneducated Negroes remained intact. In 1965, summarizing the interim and the struggle, King bitterly remarked, "What does it mean that you have the right to dine in a department store diner if you can't buy a cutlet?" The limitations of the civil rights slogan itself were especially clear in the North. There Negroes had long had civil rights under the law, given by state laws, even before federal legislation, and there had long since been no offensive segregation placards, but ghettos and de facto segregation persisted.The center of the struggle was moving there - to the urban North from the rural South. This process was largely predetermined by the physical movement of the Negro population to the North.In 1910, there were 10 million Negroes in the United States: 91 percent of them lived in the South. By 1966, the Negro population had reached 22 million, and the number of Negroes living in cities with populations over 50,000 had grown five and a half times, from 2.6 million to 14.8 million. Eleven times as many Negroes lived in the North: 9.7 million versus 880,000 in 1910, with 7 million in America's twelve largest cities. (As of 1968, Negroes made up more than half the population of Newark, two-thirds of the population of Washington, D.C., and according to official projections they may soon be a majority in such major cities as Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Gary' Cleveland, Oakland, Richmond, and St. Louis.)According to official figures, unemployment among blacks was twice as high as among white Americans in 1967. But this is an incomplete statistic. If we add "underemployment," that is, unemployment generally masked by statistical boxes, to the percentage of full unemployment, 33 to 34 percent of Negroes fell into both categories. 40.6 percent of "nonwhite" Americans lived below the official poverty level, 40 percent of them in large cities. In the twelve largest U.S. cities, 32.7 percent of blacks aged 1b to 19 were unemployed (whites 11 percent).Socially, politically, educationally, and above all economically, black ghettos represent colonies," wrote Kenneth Clark, a noted Negro sociologist, in his book The Black Ghetto. - Their inhabitants are servile people, victims of self-interest, cruelty.... and their own fear of their masters."So, on the one hand, the rapid growth of the Negro population in the North. On the other the expressive statistics of unemployment, that most generalized indicator of disadvantage, unhappiness, poverty. Together they signify a concentration not only of human mass but also of despair - a double concentration fraught with explosions.Add to this the environment of the early and mid-60s - unprecedented economic prosperity that did not affect the vast majority of blacks, a well-fed "society of plenty" that only tantalized them with its proximity and inaccessibility, the rapid progress of the scientific and technological revolution, from which blacks had "technological unemployment" - a consequence of increased automation of production and reduced need for unskilled labor.Add, finally, an important psychological factor - loss of hope. It is worth to dwell on it in detail. The Negro who bent his back on the cotton plantations of the South, crushed by the petty and grand tyranny of racists, in perpetual fear^ traditionally dreamed of the North as the saving hope of freedom and a decent life. "Hallelujah, I'm on my way to the promised land, hallelujah!" - in what ecstasy he shouted the words of an old song, half-mystically believing that the way to the promised land was the way to the North.Meanwhile, the unfortunate people were, in the words of the Negro writer Claude Brown, "out of the fire and into the frying pan," because they were unaware of "one of the most important aspects of the Promised Land: the slum ghetto."The children of these pioneers of color who were deceived in their expectations," Claude Brown wrote, "inherited their parents' fate - disappointment, anger. And beyond that, they had little hope left. For where else can a man flee to when he is already in the promised land?"It was in the North that the younger generation, born in Negro ghettos, had no illusions of their fathers, the "colored pioneers," who longed for the promised land. It was there that the tragic abyss of the Negro problem opened up like the crater of a volcano. In its still cold maw a sensitive ear picked up the initial rumblings of lava. The sensitive ear was possessed by young Negro writers. They lived in the crater, were themselves particles of lava, clodding in the volcano. And they became eloquent spokesmen for a generation of Negroes who grew up not on the patriarchal plantations of the South, but on the violent streets of the northern ghettos.How much pain, self-deprecation, defiance in the confessions of Claude Brown, author of the novel A Child of Man in the Promised Land!"Our parents, coming to Harlem, produced a new generation of niggers," Claude Brown sneers. - This new nigger no one understood, no one was prepared for his arrival. Trouble was everywhere I went. Everywhere I looked, I was misunderstood. In every job I was like a stranger.... I always wanted to run away. It was so hard. I think that in some ways my generation was like the first Africans off the ships (on the American shore. - S. K.).With the utmost frankness, naturalism, self-disclosure, sharply and harshly describedni, in this autobiographical novel childhood from y ychestvo and adolescence of the Negro in the clubbing hell of Harlem Claude Brown was brought up by the street, she easily and for the sake of kalno broke the counterweight of parental authority, because parents who came from the South in the new for them world of Harlem were lost even more than children. 'Escapes from school, petty theft, endless whippings, the only educational method of a physically formidable but spiritually confused father, gangs of ready for anything, nimble, adult experienced and cynical boys, girlfriends of underage prostitutes, daring and dangerous drug dealing and early initiation into it, juvie, again theft and drugs, always surrounded by devastated people who realized themselves "niggers" in a world dominated by the white man - these are the touches of Harlem childhood. And next to it, according to its own complex laws, lived a huge city that did not think about how all the diverse bitterness and cruelty of the world is driven into the soul of a little Negro, a city that has no time, where everyone is on his own, where everyone has to make his own way, which requires the utmost exertion of strength and leaves only indifference to others.American author Norman Mailer, after reading Claude Brown's novel, remarked, "This is the first thing by which I imagined what my life would have looked like day to day if I had been growing up in Harlem."Poverty is not a vice but a social misfortune. Poverty and disenfranchisement born of racial oppression is not a pleasing virtue. The humiliated and humiliated cannot but arouse the compassion of an honest man, but no one has yet invented a mechanism that automatically equips poverty with the angelic wings of purity and moral purity. Where there are rats, squalid apartments, and day labor, there is despair and broken souls. When to all the barriers that poverty puts in the way of human personality development, the racial barrier is added, a person, especially a young person, is left with very few ways to assert himself, and, alas, one of them is the way of the criminal.In the aftermath of the Harlem riot in July 1964, the newspapers cited significant figures. The incomes of Harlem residents were on average one and a half times less than for all of New York City, the percentage of unskilled laborers one and a half times higher, the percentage employed in well-paying jobs three and a half times lower. Negro and Puerto Rican Harlem residents, making up 25 percent of Manhattan's population, gave 63 percent of those in need of welfare handouts.From this series of numbers, another series of numbers flowed with ironclad logic. Crime among Harlem's youth was twice as high as the New York City average-drug addicts were eight to ten times higher, venereal disease rates were six times higher, tuberculosis rates were one and a half times higher, and infant mortality was twice as high.The condition of the Negro family was particularly alarming. In the North, the percentage of broken families, divorces, children born out of wedlock is catastrophically high In Harlem, two out of every five children grew up without fathers.Translating these statistics into the language of social types, we get, in particular, the figure of the Negro teenager, whom Baldwin vividly described and who was destined to make a loud statement."He has no place in this system," Baldwin wrote of the Harlem teenager. - If he is cunning, tough and strong enough - and many of us are - he becomes a criminal, because that is the only way he can survive. In Harlem or any other place in the country, there are many people who live outside the law. They would never think of calling a policeman for help. They won't listen for one minute to all those declarations we so boastfully shake the air with on the Fourth of July (Independence Day holiday. - S. K.). They have turned their backs on this country forever and irrevocably. They rely only on themselves and literally long for the day when the entire governmental system will fall into the tatters".And Claude Brown's hero, the city's tormented "nigger," hounded by cops, merchants, employers who don't even give themselves the trouble to consider how fatally they humiliate and cripple him, comes to the conclusion, "You've got to stop them before they destroy you."Thus in the ghettos, within the boundaries of the largest cities, in the heart of American civilization, flammable, socially explosive human material was accumulated. And sparks are always abundant in a heated atmosphere.Ghetto bombings... By the mid-60s, their power and frequency had grown enormously. In the letters of burning streets they wrote - one after another - the pages of modern American chronicles.It happened on August 11, 1965, in Watts, the southern part of Los Angeles, where tens of thousands of black people live in rented houses. At 7 p.m., white police officers impounded the car of a Negro named Marquette Frye, accusing him of drivin'. Fry denied it, the policemen pressed on, and pokes and prods were used. A crowd swirled around the scene of the accident. Someone shouted that a cop had shoved a pregnant black woman. Barely able to fight off the crowd, the cops took Fry away. The crowd, incensed by the incident and the California heat, did not disperse, growing in numbers and rumors. Stones flew at white people passing in cars. Police officers who arrived to restore order were counterattacked. The riot grew quickly and violently, according to the laws of forest fire^ when there is combustible material all around - white policemen, white exploiters' shops, and simply the element of hatred that does not choose its targets. The rebellion spread from block to block. The first houses burned - then there were dozens and hundreds more. The first shops looted. Streets taken over by recklessly desperate guys. The reinforcements of "cops" were like oil to the fire.The element of fire - direct and figurative raged for four days. The carbines and Colts of the "forces of order" claimed 34 Negro lives. The fires blazed in one hundred and fifty blocks, over an area of 46 square miles. The California National Guard entered the streets of Watts in trucks and jeeps. Only by the evening of August 14, 14 thousand guardsmen and one and a half thousand policemen suppressed the riot, in which, according to official statistics, about 10 thousand Negroes were involved. 1,032 were wounded of various kinds. 3,952 Negroes were arrested. Property damage was estimated at 40 million dollars, 600 buildings were damaged, 200 burned to the ground.California Governor Edmund Brown created a commission to investigate the riot, not spared on it 300 thousand dollars. At the head of the commission was put former CIA chief millionaire John McCone. They were looking for the organizers, not without the backward thought of blaming everything on "subversive elements", but even McCone did not find a conspiracy. It was the elements.The Commission warned, "If the existing fissure persists, it could, in time, irreparably split our society."Another of her warnings was figurative: "The August Mutiny will look like the raising of the curtain compared to what might explode sometime in the future."The August Mutiny dealt a severe psychological blow to King's concept of nonviolent struggle. Coincidentally, it erupted just five days after President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.With 1966 came new tensions on the racial front, but Watts's record remained unbroken. On the hot afternoon of July 12, there was an outbreak in Chicago-three blacks killed by police, dozens wounded, 533 arrested. There were riots in Cleveland, Ohio.And so 1967 was a record-breaking year. By all accounts, it was marked by the greatest domestic political crisis in a century - since the Civil War. Spring race riots in Nashville, Tennessee, in Jackson, Mississippi, in Houston, Texas. The summer is the longest and hottest. Racial explosions have made almost the whole country a haphazard minefield - wherever there is a steepie, everywhere you can blow up. Tampa, Florida ... Cincinnati, Ohio ... Atlanta, Georgia ....Then there was a riot in Newark, New York, where more than half of the four hundred thousand population is Negro.The spark was the same as in Watts. On July 12, a Negro cab driver was arrested by the police for speeding. A rumor circulated that he had been beaten. A mob besieged the 4th Police Station on Central Ward and demanded the release of the arrested man. Shouting about police atrocities, stones and bottles were thrown at the walls and windows of the station.And in Newark, the riot followed the "pattern" of the wildfire that raged on Springfield Avenue, the central thoroughfare of the ghetto. Shattered storefronts and devastated stores of white merchants. The indiscriminate firing of "cops" and the street's weapons against them - rocks, sticks, bottles of flammable liquid. A wild rage to the death against modern organized force. But somewhere from the windows, from the attics there are already rare clicks of shots - "snipers", which caused a special anger and fright of bourgeois America.And fires, fires, fires ...And hurried fence inscriptions on the window panes of stores owned by blacks: "Soul brother" - "Soul brother".Richard Hughes, the governor of New Jersey, brought National Guardsmen into the city and - in war as in war - set up his temporary command post at the Roseville Armory. After inspecting the rebellious area, Hughes said the scale of destruction reminded him of movies of atomic explosions. In his entourage were "hawks" and "doves," and he himself had proven himself a "hawk," blessing his guardsmen with a merciless firing squad (a presidential commission set up to investigate the 1967 riots later noted the "excessive" use of force in Newark).This governor, who had previously had a reputation as a liberal, behaved more harshly than the racist George Wallace. National Guardsmen outnumbered Bull Connor's police officers. Unlike the regular army, state national guardsmen are made up of civilians who are called to assembly points during a state of emergency declared by the governor. The Guardsmen who suppressed the Newark riot were all white, and acted as racists and possessives who were given a uniform, a carbine, and the ability to shoot with impunity. The Newark interchange went something like this: you, nigger, take a case of beer from the store, and I'll put a bullet in your forehead.Even Roy Wilkins, who condemned the riot and approved the use of force, was outraged by the cruelty of the punishers and called their actions "an open season of shooting negroes.Life magazine published a series of pictures of this "season." Here is twelve-year-old Negro Joe Bass, in a green shirt and blue canvas pants, lying flat on the sidewalk in a pool of his own blood, and the blood runs down the sloping plane of the asphalt. His eyes stare in horror at the polished shoe of the policeman. The boy doesn't see the whole burly figure. Nor does the policeman look at him. Belted in a cartridge case, with a heavy colt at his side, rifle at the ready in his right hand, he prepared to step. The corner of his white T-shirt under the open collar of his blue uniform shirt. And a cigar in his teeth. A cigar! There it was, "shooting season." A minute earlier a policeman had killed another Negro, William Farr, who lies here on the sidewalk, and wounded Joe Bass in the neck and thigh. And now he hurries on, and the boy stares mesmerized at the heavy shoe on the sidewalk, 10 inches from his hand, and is unable to remove his hand, and thinks, as a distraught wounded boy might think: will his hand really rattle under his heel?Twenty-one Negroes and two whites were killed in Newark, and hundreds wounded. The casualty statistics show 889 shops "lightly," "moderately," or thoroughly looted and "damaged."We arrived in Newark the day after the Guard had lifted the siege of the rebel ghetto. The center of the city was intact, and there were no reminders of the storm.It was my first time in Newark, although it was only half an hour's drive from Manhattan. I mistakenly thought that this city was closed to Soviet correspondents, as many surrounding New York cities in the industrial northeast and Atlantic coast of the United States are closed. My companions were also in Newark for the first time, and in order not to get lost, we bought a detailed map of the city at the first dragstore. Sitting in the car, we looked for a long time on the map for Springfield Avenue, already known to the whole America.When we arrived at the avenue, we didn't have to check with the poles at the intersections, on which, appreciating the convenience of motorists and pedestrians, Americans strengthen tin plates with street names. Springfield Avenue was all about landmarks - burned houses, broken windows, bullet-riddled walls, and many storefronts - former storefronts hastily blocked by plywood boards. The morning rush hour had passed and the evening rush hour was a long way off, but on Springfield Avenue we found ourselves in a pandemonium of cars. Almost all of them were white Americans, and all the drivers forgot about the rules, looking not at the road, but on the sides, at the traces left behind, as if reviving in their brains the recent pictures of fires and massacres. The cars were moving slowly, the people at the wheel were oppressed by the thought: how could they get out of this traffic jam, which stretched the whole length of the avenue, if suddenly shots rang out?...?And still they drove. In every city plagued by riots and skirmishes - and in the summer of 1967 the number of them exceeded a hundred - after the "season of shooting" and fires there came the days of a kind of tourism, and the autozevacs hurried to the streets, which had barely cooled down from the fighting tension, in order to support the television reports with their own impressions.We drove down the avenue, back up, and surveyed the side-streets, where there was less destruction. Police cars were snooping around, sirens blaring, breaking the deceptive, immaculate silence. Steel helmets yellowed in the cars, by the rear windshield.With Boris Strelnikov, a correspondent for Pravda, we made a foray on foot to Springfield Avenue. A line of Negro women stood at the food distribution point. In cardboard boxes they carried out milk, bread, beans - various city agencies helping the burned and needy. Somewhere at plywood-filled storefronts, the affected merchants - white men - answered questions from white men with notepads and pens. It was insurance agents and city clerks who went up and down Springfield Avenue to ascertain the extent of their losses (insurance companies across the country later drew their own conclusions from the riots, raising the cost of property insurance in the ghetto).As we approached the man with the notebook, we identified ourselves and asked permission to ask a couple of questions.- You gentlemen must be very happy that such shameful things are happening here. I hope we shall not give you such pleasure again," he said icily. And he shut up and turned away, making it clear that neither we nor our questions interested him. What could he say on a devastated, scorched Springfield Avenue?In the July days of 1967, the specter of a new civil war loomed over America. Meanwhile, Congress, where anti-Negro hysteria was rampant, added fuel to the fire. On July 19, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the "riot act" against "seditionists". The act criminalized any crossing of state lines (including "crossing" in the form of mail) for the purpose of starting and organizing a riot. On July 20, the same House defeated a bill appropriating $40 million for rat extermination. In rejecting the bill, the congressmen openly mocked the specific scourge of the ghetto.Rats do not lend themselves to precise statistics, but according to official estimates, New York City alone is home to about 8 million rats, one per capita, and in this atypical case, the distribution system favors the poor more.Amid the unprecedented strain of race relations, the congressional action took on a symbolic character: blacks were reminded that they were unlikely to receive understanding from lawmakers.President Johnson hastened to defuse the atmosphere by sharply reprimanding the congressmen, calling the bill's failure a "cruel blow" to the children of the poor. "Every year thousands of children, many in infancy, are victimized by rats in their homes and apartments," the president said. - Some die from it, many are crippled for life ... We must give our children at least the same protection we give our livestock."And on Newark's heels was Detroit, the climax of 1967. It claimed 43 lives, more than any other riot in the troubled history of the northern ghettos. And if we are to measure the scale of events by statistics, it is worth noting that 7,200 Negroes were arrested in four DAYS in Detroit, far more than in five weeks of King's famous Birmingham campaign, although the Negroes who rebelled in the automobile capital of the United States did not want to fill the prisons.Let me quote with some abbreviations one correspondence of mine, written at the time of the Detroit events and published in Izvestia. Though incomplete and hurried, in some respects it conveys the atmosphere of those hot, frantic days."New York, July 25. (By telef. from own corr.). The request for troops came in the morning. On President Johnson's instructions, the Pentagon granted it instantly. Already by evening Americans saw on TV screens how paratroopers, punishers trained to suppress insurrections, ran out of belly-up military transports, frozen on the concrete smoothness of the landing strips, in full combat gear. There were 4,700 soldiers transferred, parts of two parachute divisions.Where were the soldiers moved to? To Da Nang? Further escalation? Yes, escalation, but not in Vietnam, but in Detroit. The request didn't come from General Westmoreland, it came from Governor Romney of Michigan. It was not the South Vietnamese who were being pacified, but the Detroit Negroes, "second-class" citizens of the United States of America.There has been a new eruption of active volcanoes of Negro ghettos. Detroit is smoking with fires. Quarter after quarter is burning^ Fresh ruins... Television reporters, accustomed to everything, walk through the ruins. American governors habitually assume the role of generals. Most recently, during the uprising in Newark, Governor Richard Hughes turned into a commander, but did without federal troops, only National Guard soldiers, who spared no bullets, firing at the windows of Negro houses. Now Governor Romney commands the troops. He flew over Detroit in a police helicopter. When he landed, he told reporters: "Detroit looks like a city that's been bombed."Romney threw 4,000 police officers against the rebellious blacks. Then he hastily mobilized 8,000 National Guard soldiers, that is, civilian soldiers from the reserve. The TV screen impassively shows these young men riding through the streets of Detroit in army trucks and jeeps. They stand dapperly with the butt of their carbines at their hips, rolling gum behind their stone jaws. Yesterday he was a bank clerk, today he's ready to shoot. To shoot his fellow citizens, let's be clear - his "second-rate" fellow citizens.....Romney believes he has mastered the element of insurgency. He said, citing a wealth of national experience, that the first night of a riot is not the worst. Last night was the second night, and Romney was right. Hence his prudent request to the President of the United States to send paratroopers. The President responded. Regular troops landed 30 miles from Detroit, at Selfridge Air Force Base. But the White House made it clear that whether or not to move them into the city was the concern of the Michigan governor. American presidents need Negroes every four years - for elections. Johnson doesn't want to lose votes in 1968 and has thrown a charade to Republican Romney, his possible rival. The Republican Party leadership is also playing political soccer, saying the Democrat government is rapidly leading the country toward "a state of anarchy." This criticism is designed to appeal to white Americans frightened by racial insurgencies.Detroit followed in Newark's footsteps a week later. The week was filled with weekdays and smaller skirmishes. They can't be counted. New York Mayor John Lindsay spent a sleepless night last night: a riot is brewing in Puerto Rican Harlem.Congress is embittered against Negroes, as evidenced by the shameful riot bill approved by the House of Representatives. Scapegoats are sought - "troublemakers" from the outside. But "troublemakers" do not appear in Negro ghettos from the outside. They have been there since time immemorial. Columnist Clayton Fritchey, in ridiculing the riot bill, points to four "troublemakers": unemployment, poverty, slums, crime. These are the ones that made themselves known in Detroit. Here is the testimony of one Detroit Negro. He ripped his shirt across his chest, exposing his scars to reporters: "I got them in Germany. I fought in Korea, too. I'm 42 years old and I can't find a job."What to speak of the despair and rage of young Negroes who feel keenly, as young men, the fate of their country, "the richest," "the most prosperous," "the freest," etc., etc., etc.?In a sense, Detroit is the Mecca of American civilization. Millions of cars are made there. They are great cars, but it so happens that the propagandists of the "American way of life" have found an auxiliary purpose for them - to blow dust in the eyes of simpletons abroad. The bigger the cars, the better they are, the thicker the dust. The current Detroit fires have nailed that dust. It smells acridly of cinders. It's not just houses that are burning, but myths."After Detroit, where 1,163 fires broke out in four days, the fright of bourgeois America reached a high point, but the wave of riots subsided.To summarize the characteristics and manifold lessons of the riotous summer.The racial upheaval took place against the backdrop of the Vietnamese escalations, which had already aggravated the domestic political situation. Analogies to Vietnam begged to be drawn. Washington and the city and state governments spoke the language of arms to "their own" Negroes, just as they did to the Vietnamese. The readiness to use armed force, the immediacy and, so to speak, the naturalness of its use were striking, which in its own way testified how deeply militarism had permeated the whole life of the United States and the thinking of American politicians.Vietnam was also present in the balance of spending, explaining the critical ghetto situation: 24 billion a year for the jungle war, 1.9 billion for the domestic "war on poverty." President Johnson recalled less and less often his promises of a "great society"; his critics spoke more and more of a "sick society." Senator Fulbright was right when he once remarked that it was not even psychologically possible to fight both wars - Vietnam and poverty - at once, for all attention, not to mention resources, had been given to the former. The insurgency revealed another facet of this truth. The dirty war in the jungle, the ruthless extermination of another people, psychologically prepared American leaders, and much of the population, for the brutal methods of massacring Negroes - the "other America.Despite intensive searches for "instigators" and attempts to paint the rioters in a reprehensible red color, without exception all investigations confirmed that the riots erupted spontaneously, that their participants had no program or clear political and economic goals. Although pockets of race riots arose almost simultaneously in dozens of cities, they were isolated from one another, with no unified leadership and no recognized leaders. As Senator Fred Harris later correctly observed, "Rather the mob created the leaders than the leaders created the mob."For all that, the insurrections, as has already been said, developed almost according to the same pattern, in which it is not difficult to grasp their spontaneous class character. The spark was usually the arbitrariness of the policemen - white policemen in the black ghetto - or the age-old hatred of them. The white policeman, the guardian of a hostile order of oppression, became the first target of vengeance. The next target was usually the commissary, the store, the store, the pawnshop, the merchants, the loan sharks, the restaurateurs - white exploiters in the black ghetto, long ago learned to squeeze dollars out of ignorance and poverty, men with a reputation for bloodsucking. Investigations, for example, show that ghetto residents often pay 10 to 15 percent more for the same groceries and goods than residents of white neighborhoods.The mass raids on stores, looting, and arson were also convincing evidence of the spontaneous, savage, destructive nature of the protest. It was vengeance, not mere criminality. A vengeance precisely addressed to a nation of property owners. And the vigilantes were children of America with strongly developed "consumer society" reflexes.Negro merchants were usually spared; they got the brunt of it, as Newark showed, mostly from National Guardsmen, who were not fenced in, but enraged by "Soul brother" inscriptions. At the same time, attempts to persuade and pacify the rioters, made by the Negro bourgeois of Detroit, failed.The pacifying and punitive spring of power unfolded abruptly and violently. Previously, the local police force had sufficed to keep the Negroes in line. In the summer of 1967, the police could not handle the insurgents on their own. Mobilization of the National Guard used to be extremely rare, but now it was commonplace. This meant not only colts and rifles, but also armored personnel carriers, military trucks, jeeps, and machine guns. Finally, in Detroit it came to tanks and regular troops: for the first time since 1943, when there were violent Negro riots in the same Detroit, the army was thrown to subdue the Negroes of the northern ghetto.All of bourgeois America - from racist Southern senators and FBI chief Edgar Hoover to Northern liberals - united against the rioters, regardless of the shades of their positions. While still reserving reservations about the social plagues of the ghetto, liberals, however, signed on with both hands to the slogan of the day: suppress with mercy. Of the whole complex picture, the press singled out and inflated only one part - attempts on property, arson, robberies. All military-police operations were covered up with the favorite reference to "law and order". What law? What order? Those perpetuated by the ghettos?A mass category of apolitical or politically moderate everyday people, frightened by the slashes of flame and smoke on home TV screens, swayed toward outright racists. Politicians, sensitive to the sentiments of the masses, if only because they hold millions of electoral votes, played along with these sentiments and inflamed them by emphasizing the "crime in the streets" thesis, which had a clear anti-Negro bias.The initiative of the local authorities was not dormant either.In Newberg, New York, the police had a "new secret weapon," a rumor of which the police themselves had spread around the city - these nifty sprayers with condensed "invalid" gas. If a rioter were to be freshened up with a jet in the face, he would instantly fall to the ground, only to wake up in a police van or police station. It was an early variation of the "mace" gas that many protesting Americans later had to familiarize themselves with.Nelson Rockefeller, governor of New York State, appropriated $5 million dollars to exterminate rats in his state in a pique to the U.S. Congress. John Lindsay, mayor of New York City, bringing down Harlem's feverish temperature, authorized the opening of hydrants - fire hydrants, squat cast-iron bollards standing every forty to fifty paces on the edges of New York sidewalks. Now, on hot days, dark-skinned boys played at the hydrants, dousing each other and passing cars with water. It seemed like a small thing, but there was a correct psychological calculation in it - to give these guys at least something to feel themselves masters of the streets. And yet, in the evenings on the streets of Manhattan, not to mention Harlem, the heightened police alertness was almost physically felt. Mayor Lindsay rushed to the Negro neighborhoods at the first alarm to pour balm of comfort and promise from his own lips into the souls of the inhabitants.They were especially wary of crowded ghettos. The chain reaction of the Detroit riot was largely spawned by the fact that more than half a million blacks lived there. When the troopers left the ashes, Mayor Jerome Cavagna, anxious for a permanent solution to the problem, suggested that a thousand specially trained policemen each be stationed in the large ghettos of the North. President Johnson said such a move would cause "a lot of problems." It looked like a permanent occupation of the ghettos.Soon the housewives of Dearborn (an affluent and almost "lily-white" suburb of Detroit) found their remedy. Supported under the elbow of instructors, young Mrs. and old ladies learned to shoot. Like mushrooms after rain, a network of shooting clubs grew in the country; white citizens learned the art of self-defense and attack.Negroes were intimidated not only by police, guardsmen, and troops, but also by mass Lynch trials. Life magazine reminded them that they were a pathetic minority in a country where one in three homes had firearms, where there was a habit of using them, and where there was a "white boomerang" of Americans who could be inflamed by threats to their welfare and property.As for the White House, after Detroit, it offered a traditional remedy to cool passions. Lyndon Johnson announced the creation of a "special advisory commission on civil disturbances" under the president. To the commission, headed by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, the president gave the following directive - to find out "what happened," "why it happened," and "what can be done to prevent it from happening again."And Otto Kerner solemnly pledged to "investigate the soul of America." The commission plunged into the work, receiving $1.6 million for expenses, acquiring a staff of consultants, attorneys, assistants, and technicians, conducting hundreds of interviews with rioters and eyewitnesses, with police chiefs, FBI agents, National Guard officers, governors, mayors, and employees of various federal and local agencies. Made trips to the ghettos - sometimes unexpectedly, at night, to eliminate the element of eyewash on the part of the authorities.The eloquent fact is that the much-experienced commissioners were literally discovering America - an America they did not know, a black America. "Most Americans don't know how serious things are," said one of them as he got to know this America. Another was even more emphatic: "I am now convinced that this is the most difficult and profound problem of our century.Johnson appointed eleven people to the commission, including two blacks, Roy Wilkins and Edward Brooke, a senator from Massachusetts. In the course of its work, as the press later reported, the commission was divided not by the color of their skin, but by their approach and beliefs - into liberals and conservatives. There were six of the former and five of the latter. In addition to blacks, the liberal group included Otto Kerner, John Lindsay, appointed vice chairman of the commission, Senator Fred Harris, and Herbert Jenkins, police chief of the city of Atlanta. The more conservative position was taken by Congressmen James Corman and William McCulloch, Charles Thornton, a large industrialist, I. Abel, president of the United Steelworkers Union of America, and Mrs. Catherine Peaden of Kentucky.The numerical superiority of the liberals and the pressure of facts generally assured victory over the conservatives. When the commission delivered the thick volume to the President and to the press on February 29, 1968, after seven months of research, it proved to be a political bombshell. This thorough document, especially the summary preceded by a detailed factual analysis of what happened in the summer of 1967, showed that bourgeois America is capable of serious self-criticism in extraordinary circumstances. It can be called a historical document, with the proviso, however, that the shock effect was brief - the warnings were not heeded seriously, the recommendations were not implemented."The American people face a national crisis that is dangerous, deep and far-reaching," the New York Times commented on the commission's report. - As in the economic collapse after 1929, the effects of this crisis are felt in every area of life and threaten each of us. Like a great war, this crisis must be fought on many fronts, and victory is doubtful..... The nation is in crisis because its major cities are turning into Negro ghettos while whites are fleeing to the suburbs."The Kerner Commission report seemed to rehabilitate those thousands of black people who protested violently and riotously in the hot summer days of 1967. It proved that they had reason to protest. The report was a powerful indictment of America's chesed system that spawned racism. In setting up the commission, President Johnson posed with its members in front of television cameras. When he received the report, he refused to comment on it, thus expressing his displeasure.The commission criticized the press for misunderstanding and misreporting the problems of ghetto life, and the police for excessive use of force that resulted in unnecessary casualties. What many blacks had long said and what so-called respectable politicians had dismissed as "radical nonsense" was now confirmed officially."Our nation is moving toward two societies, black and white, divided and unequal," was the main conclusion of the commission. - The reaction to last summer's riots accelerated this movement and deepened this division. Discrimination and segregation have long permeated much of American life; now they threaten the future of every American."After examining "the soul of America," the commission laid the main blame for what happened on the racism of white Americans."Segregation and poverty have created destructive conditions in racial ghettos totally unknown to most white Americans," the report said. - White Americans have never fully understood, and Negroes can never forget, that white society is deeply responsible for the emergence of the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, white society condones it."In answering the question of "why it happened," the report addressed the factors that fed the "mood of violence" in the ghetto population: "Despite the complexities, some major things are clear. The most important of these is the racial behavior of white Americans toward black Americans. Racial prejudice has decisively shaped our history; now it threatens to affect our future. White racism is largely responsible for the explosive mix that has been building up in our cities since the end of World War II."The report contained, among other things, a generalized characterization of the "typical rebel," the summation of hundreds of interviews with blacks in Newark and Detroit. Reading it, one is convinced how truthful and accurate James Baldwin and Claude Brown were. They wrote about such Negroes, although on the streets of Newark and Detroit their characters found new forms of self-assertion and protest.Here is this peculiar document of modern U.S. history - a characterization of a "typical rebel": "A typical rebel of the summer of 1967 was a Negro, unmarried, male, aged 15 to 24 years, in many ways different from the stereotype (accepted in the bourgeois press. - S. K.). He was born in the state where he lived, and had lived all his life in the city where the insurrection had taken place. Economically his situation was about the same as that of his Negro neighbors who did not take an active part in the insurrection.Although as a rule he did not complete high school, he was in some respects more educated than the average urban Negro and had attended high school at least for some time.Nevertheless, he is usually an unskilled laborer engaged in manual or dirty work. If he worked, it was not all the time, and employment was often interrupted by periods of unemployment.He strongly believes that he deserves a better job and that he is excluded from it not because of lack of qualifications, ability, but because of discrimination by employers.He rejects the white man's prejudice-based view of the Negro as ignorant and flighty. He is very proud of his race and believes that in some respects Negroes are superior to whites. He is extremely hostile to the whites, but his hostility is more a product of social and economic class (to which he belongs. - S. K.) than of race; he is almost equally hostile to middle-class Negroes (that is, the Negro bourgeoisie. - S. K.).In political matters he is much better informed than Negroes who have not taken part in the insurrections. As a rule, he is actively involved in the struggle for civil rights, but he is extremely distrustful of the political system and political leaders."Thus, we have a portrait of an untrained soldier in an unformed army, who, however, displays a spontaneous class sensibility, rejects the existing system, does not believe in the institutions of society - from the president to the policeman, and is ready to declare war on this society.Thus Claude Brown's "nigger" grew up, whom "no one understood." A new type of socially active Negro took a prominent place on the internal political crossroads of the United States. The fact of his existence proved that it was not only about "two societies, divided and unequal", but also about their head-on, albeit unequal, clash "The New Negro" accelerated the process of polarization of political forces, sharpened the positions of other social figures, erasing vague halftones.The process of polarization, of course, took hold of the Negro movement as well. The 1967 rebels had no organization and no leaders, but they willingly or unwillingly implemented the desperate slogan of the extremists: "Burn, baby, burn" - "Burn, baby, burn!...".Negro leaders responded in various ways to the events of the rebellious summer. Martin Luther King, F. Lippe Randolph, Roy Wilkins, and Whitney Young, in a joint statement issued in the days of the Detroit fires, urged Negroes to oppose "violence in the streets." It is the Negroes, they wrote, who are "paying" for the riots in killed, wounded, imprisoned, left without food because neighboring stores are burned and looted, without milk for their children because the supply is paralyzed, without wages because transportation is inoperative and their place of employment may be destroyed. Negroes should not tolerate "unemployment, unfit housing, bad schools, insults, humiliation and assaults," the four noted, but condemned rioting as a form of protest.The radicals had a different emphasis. Floyd Makissik, president of the "Congress of Racial Equality," accused the four of condemning "victim violence.""History will apparently record this summer's bombings as the beginning of the black revolution," Makissik said. - "The criminal connotation in the word 'riots' will disappear. They will be recognized for what they are - uprisings against oppression and exploitation."Stokely Carmichael, who was caught up in events in Cuba, exclaimed: "The United States must collapse. My only dream is to live to see that day."Rap Brown, Carmichael's successor as president of the radical SCC, fully supported the rebels. Bourgeois commentators and politicians Friendly attacked him. Rap Brown was arrested by Maryland authorities on charges of sedition, which remained unproven.As for the Kerner Commission report, it found near unanimous approval among Negro leaders. Rap Brown, who by then was already in a New Orleans jail on illegal weapons charges and had no $100,000 bail to get out, commented in a satisfyingly ironic way: "The commissioners should have been put in jail on $100,000 bail, because they say the same things I said.- We're finally on the road to the truth," Makissik said. - "For the first time, white people are saying, 'We're racist.' It's time for shared truths.But to the chorus of voices pleased that the commission had identified white racism as the true cause of the riots, Martin Luther King added a note of skepticism. While endorsing as timely the commission's recommendation to immediately create two million jobs for blacks, King emphasized that recommendations similar to the current one "almost to the slightest detail" had been made before and "ignored almost to the slightest detail."MEMPHIS FINALSIt is time, however, to return in earnest to our hero, whom, if the reader remembers, we left in August 1965 at the signing ceremony for the Voting Rights Act that crowned Martin Luther King's Selma campaign. The excursion into the rebellious ghettos was protracted but necessary. After all, I am writing about a man who could not think himself outside of a great historical cause that was spontaneously or consciously done by millions.No matter how great our hero is, he is not larger than life, to recall an American expression. And no greater than the cause with which he was associated.It happened that Martin Luther King directed events or, at any rate, was at the very center of them - in Montgomery 1955/56, in Birmingham 1963, in Selma 1965. But there were times when events cast him, powerless and helpless, into the background, as in the riotous summer of 1967, when angry, enraged, nameless men, generalized by the Kerner Commission into history as "typical rioters," ran into the arena by the thousands.And they made me take my eye off my hero, but to take my eye off him in order to get a better look at him against the backdrop of larger events, to put him in a historical perspective that both diminishes him, making him one of many, despite his unremarkable nature, and elevates him, because it shows what truly enormous problems Martin Luther King, Jr. was trying to solve.King was simple and modest in everyday life, but he did not equate himself to a cog in the social mechanism. On the contrary, he was aware of his social significance, his mission, if you will, and this quality is necessary for every major political leader, because without a sense of mission there is no sense of high responsibility. King's frank words: "History has given me this position. It would be a sign of ingratitude on my part not to fulfill my duty and not to do my best in this struggle". Nevertheless, he treated the common cause as a student to the teacher, matured with the events, penetrated by the tasks of increasing complexity, which, without giving a break, put life.। Now back to where we left our hero.August 6, 1965, on Capitol Hill, in the Presidential Room, where Abraham Lincoln's walnut desk, covered with green cloth, is carefully kept. How today's American presidents are drawn to the shadow of their great predecessor! Lyndon Johnson chose this room and this day for a kind of roll call. With batteries of pens he scrawled under the Voting Rights Act - exactly one hundred and four years after Lincoln signed in the same room a bill to free from slavery blacks forcibly enlisted in the Confederate army. And, forgetting in the hustle and bustle of business how revealingly empty his rhetoric was to those who | remember yesterday's and the day before yesterday's speeches, Lyndon Johnson exclaimed: "Today's triumph of freedom is as great as any victory won on the battlefield. Today we break the last major fetters of a cruel ancient chain."And a week before that ceremony, after meetings at the White House, the president ordered a spurt in the number of American troops in South Vietnam, from 75,000 to 125,000. It was the largest increase and the second - after the bombing of the DRV that began in February - a major escalation of the war in the jungle. Did Lyndon Johnson realize that the roll call of his decision a week ago was more significant than the roll call a century later, that by expanding the jungle war he was putting new fetters on his "war on poverty"?Martin Luther King, victorious at Selma and Birmingham, again received a commemorative pen, but was not enthusiastic about presidential rhetoric. Having visited the White House the day before, he reported to Johnson that the North was growing rather than shrinking. King had just returned from a trip to Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia, convinced once again that the problems of de facto segregation were no less acute in the North than in the South. In Philadelphia, the "cradle of liberty" where the Declaration of Independence was sounded on July 4, 1776, King led a protest march to Girard College, a boarding school for poor orphans that had not enrolled a single Negro in one hundred 7 S. N, Kondrashovand seventeen years. In Chicago, 89.2 percent of Negro students attended segregated schools. Equality activists marched to City Hall there almost every day to protest this statistic, but Mayor Richard Daley was unwilling to remove the segregationist chief inspector of schools, Benjamin Willis. Yes and the marches were very few in number.In late July, King first tried his hand in the Negro neighborhoods of Chicago's West Side. Unlike in the South, the church was not the nucleus of the Negro community there. The ghetto dwellers had no attachment to religion, nor did they have hopes of a promised land. King delivered his speeches-sermons not from church pulpits but from trucks at intersections. But thousands and thousands came to the rallies. And there he was known, loved, listened to."We're going to change this city," King promised.On July 26, he led a march, and 15,000 people followed him - the largest Negro march in Chicago's history.But the Michigan town, home to nearly a million Negroes-more than the state of Mississippi-had its own difficult peculiarities. Some of the local Negro leaders visited King secretly, embarrassedly apologizing that they could do nothing to help him. Others - without visits or apologies - announced the formation of their own "action" organization, making it clear that the Atlanta pastor had no business in Chicago, that he was "not objective," and that Chicago Negroes would do without their own leaders. The former were besieged and the latter were nudged by the same hand-the strong, experienced hand of Mayor Richard Daley. This politician had been elected mayor three times, was the unquestioned boss of the Democratic Party's city machine, and by carrot and stick had created a network of loyal people in the Negro community that provided him with influence and electoral votes. It was not for Richard Daley's labor that the outsider King would shake the pyramid he had built. Unlike George Wallace, Bull Connor, Jim Clark, and other opponents in the South, the Chicago mayor paid lip service to Negro sympathy, accepted petitions, promised favorable consideration of grievances, but.... King perceptively characterized this type of Northern politician-bureaucrat: "Many of them sit in the presidiums of rallies .... and lavish praise on the heroism of Southern Negroes. But when local issues are raised, only their language is polite and their refusal firm and unqualified."After the July reconnaissance, it was decided that King's "Southern Christian Leadership Conference" would extend its efforts to the northern ghettos. The Watts Rebellion, which occurred in August 1965, reinforced King's decision. Events forced a hurry. "If we do not establish nonviolent action groups," he wrote in New South magazine, "the alternative is Watts..... Compared to what might happen, Watts will be a Sunday school tea party."Chicago was chosen as a test case.Beginning in the fall of 1965, the first group of King's associates, led by James Bevel, settled in Lawndale, a Chicago slum neighborhood, and began preparations for a protracted operation. William Miller, King's biographer, recounted one touch of these preparations: a Birmingham priest, JamesOrange, who had settled in the slums, had been beaten fifteen times by gangs of "vice lords" and "cobras," and only then, after proving the steadfastness of his nonviolence, had he won the respect of the young negroes of these gangs.The slums of Lawndale were home to 140,000 poor, lumpen, desperate, down-and-out people. A scary neighborhood of crumbling houses, high unemployment, crime. King and his wife settled there in October 1965 - on Hemlin Avenue, in a shabby apartment on the third floor, where they climb the wooden outdoor stairs. From the shaky balcony you could see the corner of "bloody" 16th Street, populated by drug addicts, robbers, burglars.And this was Chicago, the "shoulder" Chicago of the prairie-Great Lakes border, so magnificent from the vantage point of the Prudential Insurance Corporation skyscraper, the Chicago of the fashionable Michigan waterfront, of the French Impressionist masterpieces in the city's art gallery, of thriving banks and decaying slaughterhouses, and even of its Negro millionaires who published Ebony magazine, the black version of Life.When King moved into the Hemlin Avenue apartment, the landlord, thrilled to recognize the Negro Moses and Nobel Peace Prize winner as his new lodger, hurriedly sent workers to clean and repair the house, to eliminate the city's too flagrant violations of the housing code. Anxiety entered the souls of Lawndale's landlords, for the ing's first goal was to improve housing conditions and expose the predatory practices of high prices for slum dwellings. Finding a strategy in unfamiliar conditions, his aides tried various methods: the "rent boycott," in which tenants refused to pay rent* as punishment for landlords who did not honor contracts; "reverse strikes," in which unemployed Negroes took to repairing houses and sidewalks unauthorized, and their labor was paid for out of the proceeds of the "rent boycott."The Chicago campaign continued intermittently throughout 1966 and early 1967.On July 10, 1966, when 45,000 people marched on City Hall, King announced an extensive program of demands on city government: full integration and doubling of the public school budget, improved public transportation in the ghetto areas, distribution of city benefits in direct proportion to the population density of Chicago's various neighborhoods, construction of "new townships," including 10,000 low-rent municipal apartments, and the dissolution of the slums through this construction.The method of "direct action" tried in the South required adjustments in the North, where dodgy opponents avoided open confrontation. King once used the idea of Dick Gregory, a famous Negro comedian and no less famous militant fighter, who in May 1965 led a slum march to the home of Mayor Daley, who lived in a "lily-white" neighborhood. On July 31, 1966, a column of Negroes led by King crossed Ashland Avenue, the border between the Negro and white Districts. A determined racist mob awaited them. Lincoln Rockwell, the Fuhrer of the American Nazi Party, was vituperating in this crowd. A few even donned the hooded robes of the Kukluksklans, which are commonly found only in the South. The police separated the antagonists with their barriers, but through the barriers cobblestones and bricks flew at the Negroes; one of them hit King.In the North the racist was no less adamant than in the South.In August, as the situation became extremely heated, city officials, the business community, and blacks negotiated a nine-point compromise agreement. King declared it "the most significant program" to wipe out housing discrimination, but many disagreed with this optimistic assessment. The Chicago campaign was not successful. Slumlords had no trouble withstanding the blows of the "Slumlord Eradication Union" formed by King's associates. The "Slumlords" - the slumlord owners - did not disappear or go bankrupt. Mayor Daley remained the unchallenged boss of the city's political machine and won re-election to a fourth term (it was his name that was all over the press in August 1968, when police carried out a bloodbath of protesting youths who had traveled to Chicago to block the Democratic Party's national convention). The voices of black voters could not be mobilized against Daley.King usually spent three days a week in Chicago, not forgetting the congregation of his Ebenezer church, traveling extensively throughout the states as always. New problems changed the content of his speeches: he spoke more about the system of exploitation of blacks in the North than about civil rights in the South, about the billions of dollars needed in the ghettos to prevent new Wattses, and more and more often mentioned Vietnam, where those billions were going.Pessimism was foreign to him, but secretly he felt confused. In the complex political and economic intricacies of big cities, the simple shock tactics that he used to summarize at Southern church meetings with the call, "Brothers, put on your hiking boots and let's march for freedom!" did not work.But one day, after putting aside Chicago and other business, he flew urgently to the South to put on his hiking boots, take to the highway in the blazing Mississippi sun with his fellow marchers, and see how far apart and distant they were from each other.James Meredith, the same Negro student whom President Kennedy enrolled at Ole Miss in 1962 with the help of 16,000 troops, had studied at Columbia University in New York and then in faraway African Nigeria. And so in June 1966, he decided to visit his native Mississippi and see for himself the progress made since the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965.Newsweek magazine dubbed Meredith the black Don Quixote for a reason. Preferring to act alone, he was a stranger to organizations of all kinds.And then, true to his messianic habits, Meredith wanted to walk alone 350 kilometers along Highway 51, which crosses the Mississippi from north to south, to the state capital of Jackson. Wearing a plaid cowboy, canvas pants, hiking boots and carrying an ebony walking stick given by a tribal chief in Uganda, Meredith left Memphis, Tennessee, on June 6 and soon passed a border sign that read, "Welcome to Mississippi, the Magnolia State."He was followed by six well-wishers, reporters eager for Mississippi scoops, and a few policemen.The first day passed without incident.But the next day, a man with a gun emerged from a roadside bush.- James! James! - shouted the stranger to the group of pilgrims. - I only want James Meredith!And as well-wishers, reporters, and policemen spread out prudently on the concrete of the highway, he fired at Meredith three loads of shot with which one goes after game.And James Meredith fell to the highway. Blood poured from his head. Groaning, he screamed:- Who is it? Who is it?And, jumping up, reporters snapped their cameras, police arrested forty-year-old Aubrey Norvell, an unemployed Memphis clerk who surrendered without resistance, and well-wishers called an ambulance that took the wounded man to a Memphis hospital.The wounds turned out to be nonthreatening, but the pictures of the man on the concrete range, his face contorted with pain, his efforts to rise, leaning on suddenly weakened arms, his glance toward the standard-dry, impersonal clerk peering out of the bushes with a shotgun-these pictures were not only pictures of James Meredith, but a symbol of the American Negro in 1966.Where was the difference between 1962, when Meredith was placed at Ole Miss at the cost of a national crisis, and 1966?Then the black Don Quixote wept with impotence, humiliation and hatred:Oh be damned! He shot me like a rabbit. He did what he wanted. If I'd had a gun, I'd have settled the score with that guy.....Upon learning of the assassination attempt, King immediately flew to Memphis to the bedside of the wounded man. Stokely Carmichael, Floyd McIssick, Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young - leaders of five major Negro organizations - flew there as well. The five could not accept the fact that Aubrey Norvell had the upper hand, climbing out of the roadside bushes to interrupt with a bird shot the path of a man who wanted to measure progress in the South after hard years of struggle and sacrifice without much trouble. The idea of a mass march to Jackson along Meredith's route was born.The five flocked to demonstrate unity, but uncovered the deepest divide. Disagreements came to the surface as soon as they embarked on the "manifesto" that would define the purpose of the march (Meredith, having consented to the march, was taken to a New York hospital for recuperation as he was practically thrown out of a Memphis hospital in a semi-fainting state).Carmichael saw the march as an indictment and challenge not only to racists but also to the government."We should tell the federal government all about the lies they're feeding us," the young Carmichael raged. When they needed Meredith, they sent federal troops, and now he's just another nigger in a piece of cotton field for them. We need the force."Roy Wilkins defended the president, the word "manifesto" frightening him with its compromising associations with the "Communist Manifesto."King tried to reconcile the disputants and reach a compromise.The manifesto was issued, although Wilkins did not sign it and refused to participate in the march at all. The manifesto declared the march on Jackson "an imposing public indictment and protest" against American society, the U.S. government, and the Migsissippi authorities who refused to grant Negroes the civil rights enshrined in the acts of 1964 and 1965. President Johnson was urged to send federal referees to six hundred counties in the South to expedite registration of Negro voters and to endorse the idea of a "freedom budget"-an appropriation of many billions of dollars for the poor.The march on Jackson lasted three weeks. Like a wayward river, it narrowed to hundreds, then swelled to fifteen thousand on the last leg. The white participants were few, and the intransigence and intolerance of the young negroes increased. All along the way, especially in the evenings when the column camped for the night, King had discussions and sometimes sharp arguments with Carmichael and Makissik. In his 37 years, he looked paternally tired and poised next to the impulsive 24-year-old Staley. Carmichael, like Meredith, dreamed of guns, having lost all hope of healing white America. In five years of struggle, he had been arrested twenty-seven times, rejected methods of nonviolence, and craved revenge. His voice became increasingly vocal with the younger generation of Negro radicals and extremists.Carmichael advocated an "all-black" march, without "white squishies and liberals." As participants marched through the Mississippi town of Greenwood, where Carmichael had endured racists two years earlier while risking his life leading a "freedom school," he first raised the slogan "black power."- We urge blacks not to go fight in Vietnam, but to stay in Greenwood and fight here, Carmichael said at a rally in the city garden, to shouts of approval. - If they put one of us in jail, we won't post bail to get him out. We will go to the jail and get the arrested person out ourselves.Then one of his companions climbed up on the platform and shouted into the crowd of assembled Negroes:- What do we want?- Black power! - replied amicably from the prepared crowd, in which Carmichael's aides had already spread the new slogan.- What do we want?- Black power! - the youth responded even louder.That night, an alarmed King spent five hours urging Carmichael and Makissik to withdraw the slogan, fearing it would irritate white America and hurt the cause. His interlocutors would not budge, rejecting the compromise formula of "black equality." Carmichael said he deliberately tried out the new slogan at a march the country was watching. He wanted the slogan to be heard immediately and admitted to Martin that he wanted to push him to publicly define his attitude.As far as Jackson they reached. King saw that young people responded to Carmichael's slogan with more enthusiasm than to his calls for nonviolence.After the march on Jackson, verbal battles broke out. Negro leaders publicly denigrated each other. Roy Wilkins said that "black power" meant black racism and led to the "death of blacks." Vice President Humphrey supported him. Floyd McIssick denounced Wilkins, saying that he did not know the sentiments of the Negroes and that he, Floyd McIssick, "does not want to be a white man," rejecting the idea of integration in a society based on purity, injustice, and oppression.Vainly seeking unity, King criticized both. The radicals for recklessly launching their slogan without deciphering it. The moderates for not understanding the reasons behind the slogan.- The Negro desperately needs a sense of dignity and pride, and I think Black Power is an attempt to develop that pride," King told the New York Times. - There's no doubt about the need for strength.... But the use of the phrase "black power" gives the impression that Negroes can accomplish their goals on their own, that they need no one but themselves to do so. We should remember, however, that we constitute only ten or eleven percent of the population.Black nationalism, much less black racism, King fundamentally rejected both as a Christian minister and as a political realist. The dream of his life was the brotherhood of men, black and white, and he proclaimed this dream in his most famous speech on August 28, 1963, before a quarter of a million marchers on Washington, before the whole of America. Calls for brotherhood were the leitmotif of his activities. "We must not lose faith in our white brothers," King said during the Selma campaign in the winter of 1965, after the assassination of Jimmy Jackson. And whenever a new crime, a new heinous act of racism tested the patience of blacks, as if bringing them to the last fatal line of despair, King did his best to draw them back from that line with passionate calls for brotherhood. On the belief in the possibility of brotherhood was built his strategy of nonviolence, which involved persuading and re-educating the enemy with moral strength and fortitude.King was both a priest who believed in the efficacy of preaching brotherhood and love, and a leader with his own ideas about responsibility to the masses and political realism. From the leader's point of view, the idea of fraternity was a practical necessity dictated by circumstances. "The price our country will have to pay for the continued oppression of the Negro is its ruin," King warned. - We must learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish as fools." And he taught the Negroes not to lose faith in their "white brothers," choosing to be a bridge across the chasm, but the chasm was widening, eroded by torrents of distrust and hatred on both sides.As they marched to Jackson and their song "We Shall Overcome" rattled over Interstate 51, King was dismayed to find that some of the singers were dropping the words "We Shall Overcome, Black and White Together" from the song. They were dismissing the alliance with whites as unjustified. The slain Malcolm X once said, "If you take out a .45-caliber pistol and sing 'We Shall Overcome,' then I'll be with you..."The number of young blacks who had lost all hope for a peaceful rebuilding of America was growing. King met them in Chicago, during the Jackson campaign, in the northern ghettos. In the Detroit days of 1967, he joined Wilkins, Young and Randolph in urging blacks to refrain from violence. But then, in a letter to the New York Times, King, after stipulating that he had failed to fully express his position in the four men's statement, shifted his criticism to the instigators of violence - the American system, the U.S. Congress and the U.S. government. Yes, he wrote, there is blood on the hands of some Negroes and they will pay the price society asks of them. "But what of the blood on the hands of a Congress that scoffed at a modest rat control bill, that in concert with the government is more than halving the anti-poverty programs so desperately needed? What can be said of a white society that cold-bloodedly intensifies resistance to reform...?"The slogan "black power" ideologically and the ghetto riots practically symbolized the crisis of nonviolent struggle methods. With the growing polarization of social forces, Martin Luther King grew into a tragic figure."It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness," says an American proverb. Not recognizing hopeless situations, King sought a way out not in a choice between the moderation of the Negro bourgeois isolated from the masses and the extremism of black nationalists agitating for guerrilla warfare in the ghetto, but in the formula of militant nonviolence, setting more radical goals - in mass civil disobedience. King spoke of this means, once used by Gandhi against the British colonizers, in August 1967."Mass civil disobedience," he declared, "can harness rage as a constructive creative force.Thus was born the bold idea of paralyzing large American cities with campaigns of civil disobedience. He saw at least two advantages over rioting. First, bblshu10 effectiveness, since such campaigns "may be longer and more costly to society, though not as wickedly destructive." Second, they would be "more difficult for the government to suppress with superior force"In October 1967, King flew to Birmingham - serving five days in jail on a long-ago April 1963, when, in prison solitary confinement, he decided to throw "waves of children" against Bull Connor, now he had time for reflection.The idea of mass civil disobedience was concretized into the idea of a "poor man's march" on Washington, black and white poor, Mississippi and Alabama sharecroppers Negroes, California sharecroppers of Mexican descent, unemployed white Appalachian miners, all the downtrodden and abused of America.An army of the poor in direct confrontation with the federal government was the crown of King's political development. It turned out to be a crown of thorns.Before dwelling on this further, another public cause in which the Baptist minister's evolution was reflected is his fight against the Vietnam War.The war was only briefly mentioned in our narrative, but already from the beginning of 1965 - and the further it went, the stronger - the political, moral and economic atmosphere of the country was electrified by this small war with big consequences. The war was teaching, and an increasing number of blacks were learning its lessons, realizing that the same brutal machine of U.S. imperialism was at work in the jungles of Vietnam as well as in the black ghettos. The Kerner Commission made a curious discovery: more than half of the insurgents it surveyed believed that a country that treated them like an evil stepmother was not worthy of defense in the event of war.Vietnam diverted not only monetary resources but also public energy and attention. The Negro problem, the largest domestic problem in the United States, psychologically seemed to shrink in size. The forces of anti-war protest were growing, but, once involved, honest white America was no longer as active in the movement for Negro equality as, say, in 1963-1964. In turn, moderate Negro leaders kept Negroes out of the anti-war protest. "We've got enough Vietnams in Alabama," Roy Wilkins used to say, justifying this tactic.Dr. King's anti-war stance flowed naturally from his pacifism as a priest and advocate of nonviolence. He believed that in the international relations of the nuclear age, the true choice was not between violence and nonviolence, but between nonviolence and nothingness. As early as August 1965, during Johnson's first Vietnam escalations, the "Southern Christian Leadership Conference" passed a resolution at King's initiative demanding an end to the bloodshed and war in Vietnam, and its leader advocated an immediate halt to the bombing of the DRV.At the time, however, he refrained from actively participating in anti-war protests. His wife Coretta, not King himself, could be seen at anti-war rallies. He truly threw his moral weight and energy into the anti-war struggle from late 1966 and especially in early 1967.On April 4, 1967, King gave a high-profile keynote address at New York City's Riverside Church.The rally at this majestically gloomy skyscraper church, perched on the high bank of the Hudson River in Upper Manhattan, was called by an anti-war clergy organization.King appeared first downstairs in the basement, where there are guest and meeting rooms. Was he guarded? Apparently he was. In any case, our press credentials were checked at the door of the room where he was waiting for the rally to begin. That was when I first saw him up close - a short, dense man in a heavy black cloth suit. There was an inner solemnity in this man that cut through the familiarity and the pat on the shoulder that Americans are so fond of. There was a consciousness of his high mission. Words were given easily to the excellent orator, but did not lose weight from it, because every word was honest and suffered, every word he obliged himself with. The looks King received at the church on Riverside Drive were special. He led hundreds of thousands, he believed millions. Kuprin, recalling the thrill he experienced when he saw Leo Tolstoy aboard the steamer "St. Nicholas" in the port of Yalta, remarked that the only kind of power voluntarily assumed by people is the sweet power of creative genius. But there are ascetics who possess such power - it is given by incorruptibility and moral authority.King possessed this power, and I remember the peculiar mental uplift, the peculiar looks of the audience sitting in the church pews when he appeared on the platform.His speech was as solemn as an oath, as frank as a confession.- There are times when silence is tantamount to betrayal. That time has come for us with regard to Vietnam," he began.- Over the past two years, since I gave up my traitorous silence and began to speak of what burns my heart, many have expressed doubts about the wisdom of the path I have chosen.... "Why are you talking about war, Dr. King? Why are YOU joining the dissenters? You can't mix peace and civil rights issues," they tell me. "Are you not harming the cause of your people?" - they ask. And while I hear them, and often understand the sources of their concerns, I am nevertheless deeply distressed, for these questions imply that those asking do not truly know me. Moreover, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live either. He explained how the struggle against war and the struggle for equality are inextricably linked. - A few years ago there was a shining moment in our struggle. It seemed that the anti-poverty program offered a real glimmer of hope for the poor, black and white. Then there were experiments, new beginnings. Then came the escalations in Vietnam, and I watched as that program was broken and gutted, like some worthless political toy of a war-crazed society, and I realized that America would never put the necessary resources and energy into eradicating poverty as long as adventures like Vietnam's sucked people, their efforts and money in like some demonic suction pipe.As a humanist, as a true patriot, as an American Negro, he dissected the cruel irony of an unjust war waged by an unjust society under the flag of freedom and justice.- We take young black men crippled by our society and send them eight thousand miles away to guarantee in Southeast Asia the freedom they did not find in Southwest Georgia or East Harlem. And so we repeatedly experience the cruel irony of watching on television screens as Negroes and white guys kill and die together for a country that can't put them in the same school. And then we see them burn the huts of a poor village in brutal solidarity, realizing at the time that they will never live in the same Chicago neighborhood.As a fighter for social and racial equality, as a shrewd critic, he saw the Vietnam War as "a symptom of a deeper disease" and warned that "a nation that spends more money year after year on military purposes than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."He was greeted and escorted with an ovation. Martin Luther King was perhaps the most valuable asset of the anti-war movement in the United States, a magnet that attracted many and many.In mid-April 1967, King's stocky figure was first seen alongside the towering Dr. Spock in the ranks of the march down New York's Fifth Avenue. This anti-war march, unprecedented in numbers, drew more than 200,000 people.I was not in New York City that day. But traveling through the conservative state of Arizona, the conservative state that gave America Senator Goldwater, I saw the irritation and open anger of the province. The newspapers there lashed out at King as a "traitor."Civilian fearlessness is a rarer and higher quality than physical fearlessness. King knew what kind of fire he was drawing, having lost his cover - for official America, for the White House, he was now persona non grata. His anti-war radicalism alienated many of his liberal-bourgeois supporters. Donations to his organization were sharply reduced - many letters of request for material aid were returned defiantly unopened. In the atmosphere of newspaper harassment and ostracism, the threat of attempts on his life finally intensified, for all these printed "Atu him!" encouraged political ultras, murderers and criminals. Was he aware of this? Of course he did. But opposition to the war was dictated by conscience, by civic duty, by a consciousness of responsibility to the Negro movement. King was not accustomed to backing down on matters of principle.He said:"The war has so increased the desperation of the Negroes that urban unrest has become a terrible feature of American life. How can the Government angrily condemn violence in Negro ghettos when in Asia it gives such an example of violence as shocks the whole world. Those who use naval artillery, millions of bombs, and outrageous napalm have no right to tell the Negroes about nonviolence.... I don't want to be misunderstood. I do not equate so-called Negro violence with war. Negro acts are incomparably less dangerous and immoral than the willful escalation of war..... They destroy property, but even in rage the vast majority of Negroes direct their anger at inanimate things rather than at people. If the present events (the 1967 riots.- S. K.) are deplorable, what can be said of the use of napalm against human beings?"These are words from a speech in Chicago in November 1967. King flew there to a conference of anti-war labor activists to support them and to hurl accusations at most unions that openly or tacitly supported the war. The unions, America's organized labor movement, constrained by the reactionary leaders of the AFT-CAT, shied away from active participation in the anti-war struggle, just as they shied away - with few exceptions - from fighting for Negro equality. Lyndon Johnson knew that in any new escalation he would find perhaps more support from George Meany, the former plumber and president of the AFT-CIO, than from the hereditary billionaire Nelson Rockefeller.One voice is missing," King said bitterly of union passivity, "the loud, clear voice of the unions. The absence of this voice is all the more tragic because it could be a decisive voice that could tip the balance in favor of peace.His words were met with applause - he was speaking to people concerned about the absence of that voice.The conference was held in a building at the University of Chicago. King, as the guest of honor, spoke after lunch. Delegates and correspondents sat at lunch tables. Again, as in the church skyscraper on Riverside Drive, I was struck by the atmosphere of unusual solemnity and respectful tense attention that came when Martin Luther King rose at the chairman's table. It was clear to me that many of those gathered could feel the vengeful fingers of George Meany around their necks. They had risked their careers by coming to an anti-war conference. They lacked the solidarity of the rank-and-file members of the unions in which they worked, and the ultra-patriots could massacre them on their return, throwing them out of their positions. In general, their challenge to the AFTU-CAT leadership was timid.King, sensitive to the audience, realized that these people needed moral support. At the end of the speech, he backtracked from the text he had handed out to the correspondents. He spoke slowly, harshly, angrily.About how his friends warned him and his enemies poisoned him when he began to speak out against the war.About politicians who justify meanness and deals with conscience on grounds of practicality.There are times, he said, when it is necessary to state directly where you stand, whether others like it or not. Let your popularity diminish, but there are principles that are higher than anything else; to deviate from them is tantamount to moral suicide.Like the church on Riverside Drive, it looked like a confession and an oath. He swore that he would not back down, and he wanted to inspire others by his example; there was in him the hypnotic inner freedom of a man who had consciously chosen the path of life, who had ruled out bargains with his conscience.The Chicago speech was delivered weeks before Senator Eugene McCarthy, disregarding career considerations, openly defied Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic leadership and announced that he would run for president as an opponent of the Vietnam War. Months before Senator Robert Kennedy, who was fearfully looking back at the White House, calculating the pros and cons of every move he made, had also decided to run against Johnson.Yes, the Atlanta priest knew how to see the world and learn from life.Indeed, what a great amplitude between December 1955 and April 1968, when an assassin's bullet set the stage for the evolution of Martin Luther King!What difference between the original and the last tasks of the struggle, between the original and the last opponents? A decent place on buses for Montgomery's Negroes - and a decent place in the sun for America's poor, black and white. A struggle against the humiliating "Coloreds Only" signs - and a principled opposition to U.S. domestic and foreign policy, for the late King saw the task as "transforming from within the structure of racist imperialism."The Chicago speech was delivered weeks before Senator Eugene McCarthy, disregarding career considerations, openly defied Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic leadership and announced that he would run for president as an opponent of the Vietnam War. Months before Senator Robert Kennedy, who was fearfully looking back at the White House, calculating the pros and cons of every move he made, had also decided to run against Johnson.Yes, the Atlanta priest knew how to see the world and learn from life.Indeed, what a great amplitude between December 1955 and April 1968, when an assassin's bullet set the stage for the evolution of Martin Luther King!What difference between the original and the last tasks of the struggle, between the original and the last opponents? A decent place on buses for Montgomery's Negroes - and a decent place in the sun for America's poor, black and white. A struggle against the humiliating "Coloreds Only" signs - and a principled opposition to U.S. domestic and foreign policy, for the late King saw the task as "transforming from within the structure of racist imperialism."And the opponents? Montgomery Mayor Tacky Gale, Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety K-"gin Bull Connor, Sheriff Jim Clark, and -U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, with whom the Nobel laureate severed both political and personal ties in the last months of his life.The last piece of legislation that King and his supporters wanted to wrest from Congress and the president was the Economic Rights Act, which would have guaranteed poor Americans a job and a living wage.King's last campaign was not about boycotting Birmingham stores or pressuring the Selma racists who refused to register black voters, but about paralyzing the entire government machinery in Washington for weeks and perhaps months to force a change in budget priorities.Since the fall of 1967, the Atlanta headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference had been preparing a poor man's march. The operation had been drafted. In columns from various states, 3,000 activists-the vanguard of the protest army-were to come to the capital and set up a demonstrative plywood tent city in the neighborhood of the false classics of Washington ministries and agencies. Block transportation highways. Line up sick people with no money for treatment outside hospitals. To organize "sit-ins" in government offices.Picket and deputize to disrupt the soulless functioning of the bureaucratic machine so that in dramatic circumstances the federal government cannot avoid answering the question: do the American poor still have a right to "work and income"?- Why do you want to disrupt and upset the lives of Washington?- Because the lives of the poor are disrupted and upset every day.....This is from a special questionnaire handed out to activists.King saw the "poor people's march" as a last desperate test of nonviolence, an attempt to channel accumulated rage and hatred into constructive protest, because if unsuccessful, the ghetto riots would be a green street. He did not expect an easy victory. On the contrary, the resistance of ruling America was growing manifold, for it meant that "privileged groups would have to give up some of their billions".They took a swing at American capitalism in its political citadel, and this did not escape the attention of astute observers. Writer and journalist Jose Iglesias, who spent more than one day in the cramped quarters of King's Atlanta headquarters, summarized his impressions this way: "The tactics are nonviolent, the language of the literature (prepared for the campaign. - S. K.) is moral, but the substance of the demands is revolutionary for America: class demands dramatized outside the orderly democratic process."He wanted to double-check his conclusion with King. He replied, "Yes, in a sense we are engaged in a class struggle. It will be a long and difficult struggle, because our program calls for a redistribution of economic power."And he explained to his interlocutor the biblical parable of Lazarus the beggar and the rich man: Lazarus did not go to heaven simply because he was poor, and the rich man did not go to hell because he was rich. "No, the rich man suffered punishment because he passed by Lazarus every day but paid no attention to him..... 'If this country ignores its poor, if it leaves them in poverty and misery, its place is surely in hell.This is the late King: the pathos of an evangelist, and the views of a revolutionary. A preacher of universal love and brotherhood, differentiating between brothers and speaking of the poor in the first person - 'we.'Four days after his assassination, Coretta King said at a memorial rally, "My husband gave his life for the poor of the world, for the janitors of Memphis and the peasants of Vietnam."He proved the truth of those words by the evolution of his life and struggle and by his very death.Where would he go next...?The twelve years of struggle flew by rapidly. Then came the thirteenth and final year. Each campaign seemed decisive, but his great dream was like a tantalizing, sunlit, dazzling mountain peak - so close, so real, so utterly visible - and so inaccessible.Fatigue ran through the complex gamut of his moods. A political leader had no right to despondency and pessimism, but King the man had a hard time with epiphanies.- America was sick. The disease has struck her much more deeply than I realized," he confided to a friend.Meanwhile, behind the familiar faces of Birmingham's Bull Connor, Selma Sheriff Jim Clark, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, there was already looming the dry, sharp, unrelenting face of the criminal killer James Ray, the last enemy the "apostle of nonviolence" had never seen in person.At the end of March 1968, there was a lull on the American racial front.They were waiting for April 22, the beginning of the confrontation in Washington.Only in Memphis, Tennessee, were the city's janitors on strike.Tennessee is the gateway to the South. Memphis is a City on the Mississippi. Of its then 550,000 residents, 40 percent of its then 550,000 residents were Negroes - over 200,000.The city is like a "Southern Traditions" city, but its white owners have the typical excuses: Negroes were embedded even in the police force, thirteen Negroes on the city council, public schools, please desegregate back in 1961, and, mind you, without scandal.Negroes, like everywhere else, complain about low wages, unemployment, poor housing and the police, who will not miss a chance to "grab a baton on a black head or Shoot a black body".Removing garbage from the streets is a black job, and it is done almost entirely by blacks hired by the municipality. Their supreme chief is the city's mayor, Henry Leb. The 1,300 strikers demanded a wage increase and recognition of their union by the authorities. According to the labor code, union recognition is very important, it means that without its consent no workers can be hired or fired; strikebreakers are outlawed.For more than forty days this modest strike dragged on with no apparent chance of success, known only in Memphis, where the firemen were more often than not on call, as the citizens made fires to get rid of the accumulated garbage heaps.Everything went on without much trouble for the authorities until the strike attracted King's attention. Arriving in Memphis, he announced a solidarity march - not unreasonable, by the way, a rehearsal before the battle in Washington. His traditional method is to dramatize the situation, to create a crisis in the city, a "constructive tension" that would frighten the authorities and force them to negotiate and make concessionsSo on March 28, a week before the fatal shooting, peace in Memphis was cracked by a march of protest and solidarity.Since the morning, thousands of people had marched down Beale Street, along pawn stores and cheap stores. King is in the front row, like the battering ram's teem, arm in arm with Ralph Abernethy and Ralph Jackson.In front and on the sides are policemen. Batons at the ready, Colts on their hips in open holsters, in the sergeants' palms portable wokie-tokie transmitters with needle antennae. Round helmets, crags on strong calves, number plaques on chests....Memphis "cops," burly and picturesque, like all American policemen. Guardians of the marches. Witnesses to the marches. Punishers of the marches. They were like trigger-happy. Walking around, eyes probing the marchers. Waiting for their nervous, frantic, hasty moment.And it came.Where did they come from, these dashing, dashing Negro teenagers? Hamilton High School. They ran away from class and wanted to join the marchers, but they didn't. The police escorted the marchers like prisoner escorts, and there was no room for outsiders.And as a gust of wind blew over Beale Street, where the Negro jazzist W. Handy had once composed his popular blues.But it wasn't the sweet longing of the blues, it was a mad tap dance.And bricks into policemen, into pawnshop and store windows, and glass spatters, and somewhere hurried hands reaching through the sharp edges of broken glass for window goods.Hooliganism? Revenge? Or the brief reckless rapture of temperamental youths who deceitfully imagined that for a moment they owned this Beale Street, with its pawn stores and white men's stores, that it could not but belong to them, since there were so many black people around?"The cops" threw themselves into this dance, into that ghoulish deadly twist with which the ghetto streets are so often beaten. Oh those contorted, fear-wrenched bodies dodging the whistling batons!..... Oh these trembling bodies, dodging the muzzle of a colt...! Oh this veil of tears on faces, ocupants fuming with the smoke of tear bombs!..!The next day, Earl Lanning, president of the Memphis Insurance Board, reported that 155 retail establishments had broken windows, that in "five percent" of them kidnappers had broken in. The police announced their statistics: one sixteen-year-old Negro killed, sixty wounded, two hundred arrested.The Tennessee legislature reacted quickly, and in a way that could be expected of people frightened by the prospect of another "hot summer" that had unexpectedly begun early in the spring. Mayors were allowed to impose curfews in their cities, and Henry Leb was the first to exercise that right. From 7 p.m. on March 28, Memphis streets were deserted. Their desertion was ensured by 4 thousand National Guard soldiers, hastily brought into the city by the governor of the state, Bufard Ellington. Another 8,000 soldiers were placed on alert.White Memphis took measures in case of a black riot. But the bombing didn't happen.And the march was disrupted, dispersed. As soon as the batons danced and stones whistled, King was hastily shoved into a car and taken to an unknown destination. He was kept safe by friends and Memphis authorities, who feared that if anything happened to King, an explosion could not be avoided.King wasn't expecting a crazy tap dance on Beale Street.- If I had known there was going to be violence," he said, "I would have canceled this march.On March 29, striking garbage collectors went on picket lines. In a long, sparse chain they marched in the warm rays of the spring southern sun, and in an equally long and sparse but immobile chain surrounded them were the National Guardsmen with rifles drawn. The shadows of their bayonets stabbed into the placards on the picketers' chests. The two words "I am a human being" were emblazoned in large letters on the placards.The cry, however, was not that the Memphis janitor was a man, but that the Negro anarchy which had again made itself felt in Memphis and which it was time - long overdue! - to end. The veins of anger swelled on Washington's forehead. Robert Baird, Senator from West Virginia, drew his conclusions by proposing a court order to prohibit the "poor man's march" on the capital. "If this self-appointed ataman is not thwarted, the cause may turn violent with destruction, plunder, and bloodshed in Washington," Baird blasted King and his plans. Edward Brooke, the only Negro senator, publicly questioned King's ability to keep the Washington campaign within the bounds of nonviolence. Any spark could cause an explosion in the "flammable conditions" of Washington, and who could guarantee, Brooke asked, that such a spark would not be born among the mass of participants? And President Johnson himself, in three speeches on March 29, warned three times that he would not tolerate "mindless violence," urged the forces of law to act firmly and without fear, promising federal aid if necessary.With the slogan of "law and order" they wanted to overturn King's slogan of "work or income" once again. In a country that had not forgotten last year's rebellions, the "white boomerang" was whistling. The prevailing mood was quite definite - it was time to put the ungrateful blacks in their place. Every now and then the press reported about factories urgently fulfilling the orders of the authorities for special armored cars, miracle gas "Mace", upsetting the nervous balance of the "rebel", and other gifts for the next "long Hot Summer", which was awaited, as one waits for the inevitable.There is one comparison that illustrates these sentiments. In November 1963, days after John F. Kennedy's assassination, during Lyndon Johnson's first appearance before Congress as president, he was applauded for the longest time when he mentioned the Civil Rights Bill of Rights, the slain president's unrealized legacy. In January 1968, however, when Johnson delivered his traditional State of the Union address to Congress, the longest applause came at the mention of measures to combat "crime in the streets." This eloquent applause was not unreasonably regarded as an anti-Negro demonstration of supreme power.The shadow of the Memphis failure now fell upon the Washington operation, and a retreat would doom it altogether.- 'We are determined to march on Washington,' King declared on March 29. - We believe it is absolutely necessary.In Memphis, he also counterattacked by announcing a second solidarity march with the janitors - to prove to critics and detractors that he could ensure a peaceful march.A second march was planned for the next few days, and King flew to Memphis again from Atlanta.And the march was held. It was peaceful, just as Ying had dreamed it would be. The march was more crowded than he could have hoped for - 35,000 people, black and white, traveling from all over the country, as they had in the heroic days of the march on Montgomery, as they had on the day of the historic march on Washington. They marched solemnly through the streets, and white Memphis was as if it had died out. There were no violent racist crowds, no police officers yelling at the marchers. There were no locks on the doors of stores, no iron bars on the windows, no one looking out of the windows - the residents had closed their windows on orders from the police. And the only spectators of this march were the National Guardsmen frozen on the sidewalks.The marchers marched in rows of eight through the line of tense soldierly stares and carried placards, thousands of identical placards: "Honor King - End Racism!" And in the front rank, as on March 28, marched Ralph Abernethy and Ralph Jackson. But the familiar resolute, solemn figure was not with them. Martin Luther King lay in a coffin in his native Atlanta. The marchers were led by Coretta King. In the bitter days, she didn't just accept condolences. She spoke at the mourning rally. Her voice shook, and lingering moments of absolute silence came whenever Coretta stopped talking to fight back tears, gather her strength, and continue speaking. Grief was on her face, but no tears were ever seen. She was like Martin and knew that mourning should also be an action, that he wanted a mourning that did not interrupt the struggle.The solidarity march with the janitors that King was preparing became a march in King's memory and took place on April 8, four days after his assassination.But the Memphis janitors were not forgotten. They won on April 16. Their victory was King's last victory, and he paid for it with his life.....But back to our story, which is now fast approaching its end.So, on April 3, he flew again to Memphis, unaware that he was flying toward death.Atlanta was a late departure. Before takeoff, the pilot apologized to the passengers over the airplane radio:We apologize for the delay, but the fact is that Dr. Martin Luther King is flying with us. So we had to check all the luggage. We checked everything very carefully to make sure nothing would happen to the airplane. The entire night before the flight, the plane was secured.Well, it's a routine announcement. And they made it, of course, not for King and his companions, but for the rest of the passengers; maybe there are some among them who are not flattered, but concerned about the neighborhood in the air with a famous man. It was not safe to fly with him, and planes were usually probed by bomb-sniffers if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was on the passenger list. And he and Coretta never flew on the same plane, lest, God forbid, they leave their four children orphaned!On the evening of April 3, while delivering a sermon at a Negro church in Memphis, King remembered this airplane announcement and began to reflect aloud on life and death:- Well, I made it to Memphis. And here they say I'm threatened that our sick white brothers might do something to me. Well, I don't know what's gonna happen now. We've got some tough days ahead of us.... Like everyone else, I'd like to live a long life. A long life has its advantages. But that's not my concern right now. I just want to do God's will. He let me go up on the mountain- And I looked down from there and saw the promised land- ° Maybe I won't get there with you, but as a people we'll reach the promised land. And so I'm happy tonight. Nothing bothers me. I'm not afraid of anyone.Did a strange premonition linger in his mind that evening? If so, it was the last, but not the first time. He was threatened with death almost every day - in letters, in shouts from the crowd, in anonymous telephone calls, and he had this urge to speculate aloud about the possibility of premature death, and in his speculations he mixed a touch of religious mysticism with political realism, because he knew the country in which he lived the dangerous life of a fighter. But he could not live otherwise, and so he had long been prepared for everything, and his fatalism was not affectation but a sober realization of the constant real threat. "I solved the problem of personal danger," King once remarked. And clarified: the solution was that he simply banished fear-otherwise he would not be able to act, to fight. And so he preferred to talk about death rather than courage-it was implicit.Knowing King's habit of staying in Negro neighborhoods and Negro-owned hotels whenever possible, his friends got him a room at the cheap Lorraine Motel, No. 306 on the second floor. The door led out onto a long balcony shingled with green-colored railings. To get downstairs, one had to walk across the balcony to the stairwell.Saying he wasn't afraid of anyone, King returned to No. 306 at the Lorraine Motel.That same evening or the next morning, James Ray knew where King was located, that his room was on the second floor, and that he could not get past the balcony, and thus the fly. All he had to do was to find a path for the bullet. In front of the balcony below was a parking lot, and beyond that a narrow Mulberry Street and a wall about two feet high, with bushes and grass poking up on the crest. And further up the hillside were trees, beyond them a wire fence and the unsightly, wasteland-like backyard of a two-story house that fronted South Main Street. There the lonely old men lived out their days in furnished rooms. On April 4 at four o'clock in the afternoon, a young-looking man in a black suit showed up. He wanted a room for one day. Mrs. Brewer, the landlady, took him to a room facing north, but the stranger did not like the room. He would have preferred a room on the south, sunny side. Well, there was one. It overlooked the Lorraine Motel.Mrs. Brewer remembered that the stranger had paid eight and a half dollars in advance.And even better, the Lorraine Motel was visible from the shared bathroom of this furnished house. Even the metal numbers 3, 0, and 6 nailed on the brown door were clearly visible through the scope of a Remington rifle.And by right of a guest wanting to freshen up after a road trip, a man with a southern drawl had locked himself in the bathroom. From the bathroom to the numbers 3, 0, 6 was about 70 meters....King spent the entire day in his hotel room taking care of business. Alas, Memphis was taking valuable time away from preparing for the Washington clash. In addition, the situation was becoming more complicated: through the court, the Memphis authorities obtained a ban on the second march.King spent the whole day in a motel, conferring with his aides. And for dinner they were invited by a Memphis Negro priest Kailes. By 6:00 p.m. the business had to be interrupted. Kyles had already arrived, already waiting for them to take them to his house. Ralph Abernethy was still in the room. King was tying a black tie with a gold stripe around his powerful neck in front of the mirror, laughing at Kyles.- Isn't your wife too young? Will she be able to prepare food for our souls? She is thirty-one years old, is she not? Is it possible to understand the meaning of soul food at that age?8 S. N. Kondrashov- Isn't your wife too young? Will she be able to prepare food for our souls? She is thirty-one years old, is she not? Is it possible to understand the meaning of food for the soul at that age?He was young in fact, but only in years.- That's right," Abernethy quipped. - We're not here for filet mignon. We're looking for vegetables. Food for the soul. Does Gwen know how to cook our food?- Don't worry, Kyles assured them, knowing it wasn't just a joke.King lived modestly, immoderate even in food seemed to deceive those people who followed him and believed him.(When major U.S. political figures rushed to a house in Atlanta after the assassination with condolences, they were struck by the modesty of the dwelling. A small note in the newspapers, reporting that the King family had only five thousand dollars in savings - a pittance on the American scale, in some ways says more about this man than heartfelt obituaries, because posthumously confirms the rare unity of word and deed. One must know an America in which involvement in any, even just, public cause does not prevent bourgeois politicians from making dollars and fortunes to truly appreciate this selflessness, another touch to King's greatness).At last King managed the tie and left the room with Kyles. Kyles went downstairs, and King lingered at the green railing of the balcony, waiting for the hesitant Abernethy.It was six o'clock in the evening.At the last moment the forebodings must have left him, and King did not look at Melberry Street, beyond the scalloped wall, a little way up and to the right, at the sunlit east wall of the two-story house. He looked down at his comrades ready to leave.Down below, by the balcony, was a black Cadillac assigned to King for traveling by the owner of a Negro funeral home in Memphis. Standing beside the Cadillac were Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, and chauffeur Solomon Jones. All were in the mood for "soul food," table talk and jokes. And after dinner, late in the evening, a rally.- Have you met Ben, Martin? - Jackson asked from downstairs, nodding toward Ben Branch, the Chicago Negro musician who was to play and sing at the rally.- 'Well, how about it,' King smiled, leaning on the railing, 'Ben's my man... Sing for me tonight,' he asked Ben. - 'Sing me, please, "Oh precious God, take my hand." Sing it better.- I will, Martin," Ben said. He knew that sad spiritual.- It's getting a little chilly. Hadn't you better put your coat on? - the chauffeur advised King.- That's right. I will," King answered, and bent slightly over the railings, as if reaching for these dear people who loved him, cherished him, were proud of him, cared for him as one cares for older, respected, wise, but forgetful of small things.He leaned slightly toward them, holding his hands on the green railing, and at that instant a bullet struck him, and his friends heard the sound of the shot, and the deadly force of the swiftly flying nine grams of lead toppled his stocky figure. Sprawling King collapsed backwards onto the cement floor of the balcony. Blood rushed from his neck. They got him a first-class assassin? Bullet hit the right side of his neck, penetrated the cervical vertebrae. His wide-open almond-shaped eyes stared at Abernethy, who had run out of No. 306. He was unable to speak.He was clinically dead within an hour, but he had said goodbye to life the minute the bullet toppled him, and his friends rushed to the balcony and surrounded the lying body, stretching their arms slightly up and to the right, in the direction of just that sunlit wall from which the sound of the shot had come.Already the police cars were honking. Already the cameras were clicking, the movie cameras were whirring, but the ambulance had not yet arrived, and he was still lying on his back, legs bent at the knees, arms spread, black suit and face covered by a white towel, and the blood was spreading on the cement floor near his head...."O precious God, take my hand, lead me, let me endure, I am tired, I am weak, exhausted. Through storm and night lead me to the light, O precious God."The poet is right: grief has a frantic pace - and especially in the age of television. On that evening of shock and mourning, it seemed to me that America was like a man who was always busy and fussy, before whom a formidable, unquestionable judge suddenly appeared, shook him by the scruff of the neck so that the husks of current affairs fell away, and ordered: "Look into your soul! Can't you see what's going on there?"And yet millions, yes, millions - who would dare deny it? - there was a vengeful joy, a satisfied anger: at last this annoying troublemaker, this "nigger" who needed more than others, got what had long been his due. And somewhere, having eluded the Memphis police, James Hey was riding his white semi-sport Mustang, and listening to the frantic chatter of the radio announcers, he grinned, double-checking with their voices that the job was done, and done well. But the rancor was locked in the home circle, at the television screens in the living rooms, in the remarks of fellow drinkers sitting on high stools at the bar counters. "It's either good or nothing about the dead" - at first, even the racist press paid this posthumous tribute to Martin Luther King. Hate went underground from the newspaper pages, secretly celebrating its triumph, but how many of them woke up the next morning in good spirits, not because it was the beginning of a two-day April weekend with a picnic outside the city, the ritual of leisurely mowing the home lawns in the warm spring sun, fiddling with the children, but because their world was calmer and more spacious after the priest had disappeared from Atlanta.And what an unexpected and pleasant surprise it must have been for the anonymous owner of the voice that Coretta King heard in the telephone receiver on the evening of January 30, 1956, when the smoke from the first bomb thrown into the King home had not yet cleared. "Yes, I did it," a voice shouted then, choking with hatred. - And I'm very sorry I didn't kill you all, you bastards."President Johnson's moistened eyes noticed. Whatever their relationship with King, the Memphis tragedy had shaken him as a man and as a president. The country's reputation seemed to have been shattered. Lady Bird, his wife, flew to Texas as a volunteer guide for a group of Western European editors. They were invited on a program that, as it happened, was called "Discover America."In the White House, the mourning was outweighed by fears: how would the ghettos echo? However, it was not difficult to guess the echo. It was more difficult to pre-empt it or at least weaken it. Rushing to the television cameras, the president urged the country to "reject the blind violence that struck Dr. King, who lived a life of nonviolence. So dominant America has found the right amplitude: violence - nonviolence. Violence - nonviolence ... Like an incantation, these words have been heard millions of times on the airwaves, on newspaper pages and on television screens. What violence? What violence? In the name of what? These were the main questions that plagued King, as if they didn't exist. Like shamans from the Navajo Indian tribe, journalists and politicians talked, talked, talked about the intolerable Negro pain.But the authorities knew the weaknesses of verbal therapy. Henry Leb, mayor of Memphis, and Buford Ellington, governor of Tennessee, were the first to take action. Doctors registered King's death at 7:05 p.m. Memphis time, but as early as 6:35, Mayor Leeb imposed a curfew in the city. Governor Ellington began his televised speech by expressing his condolences, and ended with the announcement that 4,000 National Guardsmen had been deployed to Memphis, which, unfortunately, had been withdrawn only the day before. National Guard planes were already moving police officers trained in riot control. The area near the Lorraine Motel was cordoned off. The neighborhood had become dangerous, a magnet for blacks. They went there to express grief with anger. Grief and anger were driven from the streets into the houses, crushed, dissected. At night, police cars were shot at from the rooftops. Two police officers were lightly wounded and ended up in the same hospital where King's body lay.Official mourning was mixed with fear, Negro mourning with rage, rage of impotence. I remember a rally hastily called on Friday afternoon in New York's Central Park. The denunciations were angry, but how to avenge? How to teach this stepmother country a lesson? Thousands took to Broadway, moving toward City Hall. The NYPD kindly cleared the way by directing automobile traffic. Thousands are used to thousands. Thousands don't get anyone off.....On Friday morning Stokely Carmichael called a press conference in Washington. On North 14th Street West. where the walls of houses were already papered with mourning portraits of the "apostle of nonviolence," excitement was electrifying from the rushing clumps of black people the first bricks flying into the storefronts of white merchants. Stokely Carmichael thought the hour had struck. With a bikford cord set on fire, his words reached out to the dynamite of 14th Street, to the capital's half-million Negro population. They were not questions and answers, not a conversation with reporters, but calls to action, a seething hatred.- When white America killed Dr. King yesterday, it declared war on us..... The uprisings now taking place in the cities of this country are but flowers compared to what is about to happen. We must avenge the deaths of our leaders. We will pay our debts not in courtrooms, but in the streets. White America will cry for killing Dr. King. Black people know they must get guns. Black people are dying in Vietnam every day. Oh well, let them take as many white people with them to the other world as possible....In a familiar fervor, Carmichael blamed all whites, climbing another rung of despair, but there is no escape on this ladder. Dynamite was in abundance, but it could not replace a focused targeted explosion, an organized army of offensive against American capitalism, which ultimately benefited from the pseudonym "white America."Carmichael's fierce impromptus, however, intimidated many. "Getting guns" was the thing most feared. In those mourning days, Negroes were hexed from violence by official America and most Negro leaders. Even activists of the "Congress of Racial Equality," no less radical than Stokely Carmichael, walked the streets of New York's Harlem, defusing the situation, calming the agitated crowds. Mayor John Lindsay walked the streets of Harlem and the Brooklyn ghetto for three days and three nights, persuading, persuading, persuading.... And New York City escaped the bombing.But Washington exploded on Friday, the day after the assassination. By three o'clock in the afternoon, the smoke of the fires, like mourning flags, hung over the Negro quarters of the capital, and the spring wind pulled the center, the White House, the Potomac River. In the ghetto, white merchants' shops were looted and set on fire, fought with police and firemen.The riots spread to the center of the city. Panic raged there, and ghetto dwellers burst in, attacking stores. Before the end of the workday, thousands of government employees fled their offices, away from the raging elements. It seemed that the ship was tilting and about to go down, that in the panic, fires and gunfire the flagship of the American empire would sink. Thousands of cars, bumper to bumper, were slowly leaving the city, shunning the Negro neighborhoods. White Washington sought refuge in the suburbs, in the neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia. Desperate to find cabs, to avoid crowded buses, officials and businessmen crossed the Potomac on foot across the Memorial Bridge - rather to the other side, away from the Negroes.It was an unprecedented symbolic exodus .of the America that Dr. King was about to shake with his march of the poor and that was now being shaken by the fiercely mournful element of the ghetto. Yes, his death had shaken the capital, but it was a different kind of shaking that he had dreamed of, a creative shaking.If King had seen all these expressive and contradictory symbols of grief, hypocrisy, protest!Machine gun crews on the broad steps of the Capitol, ready with lead to defend a Congress deaf to the demands for jobs or income for the poor.The White House, the main house of white America, against a backdrop of black puffs of smoke, those mournful symbols of black America. The flag was lowered over the White House as a sign of mourning, but seventy-five soldiers, stretched out in a fighting line, guarded its gates.Everything was twofold - twofold contradictory. On April 5, Lyndon Johnson issued two presidential proclamations, one for national mourning on Sunday, April 7, the other for the immediate entry of regular troops into the capital.Two thousand soldiers cordoned off government buildings and carried guards for foreign embassies. Five hundred soldiers of the Third Infantry Regiment were flown in from nearby Fort Meyer. Tall, shiny, polished, they were kept for honor guards and ceremonial meetings of foreign heads of state on the White House lawn. Now, dressed in marching khaki, they were prepared to meet the common people. Two thousand National Guardsmen were also put on alert.Walter Washington, mayor of Washington, D.C., and a Negro by the way, imposed a curfew in the capital from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 in the morning.At the noon funeral service at Washington Cathedral, the church choir sang the same spiritual that Martin Luther King never heard Ben Branch sing: "Oh precious God, take my hand..." Four thousand people*i among them President Johnson, prayed for the repose of the soul of the "apostle of nonviolence" who knew no peace on earth.Whites outnumbered blacks in the cathedral, and in the police stations, of course, the reverse was true: 2,000 Negroes had been arrested by the end of the first day of the riots.Five Negroes had been killed. This figure, however, the police prided themselves on as proof of their extreme moderation; they were allowed to shoot only in the most extreme cases, knowing from experience that immoderate shooting only inflames, not extinguishes, a riot.The official mourning marched ten abreast - rifles in a row, gas masks like pigs' patches on the soldiers' faces, nervously shouted by crazy sirens of police and fire trucks, scraping brakes, heard in the hurried radio voices of police dispatchers.On Saturday night, reinforcements arrived in the capital, an airborne division that had pacified Detroit's blacks in July 1967.The Negro mourning left behind fires, fresh ruins, charred steel beams, orphaned black against the fire-orange sky.And vandalized stores.The pattern was the same as in Watts, Newark, Detroit, but the occasion was different: the murder of a man who had warned of the chaos that awaited America if it did not pay its historic debt to the oppressed Negro. And so the bill was presented again - in a blind, unbridled and hopeless protest. Grief mixed with criminality. Suits, hats, ties, crates of beer and whiskey, color TVs being looted from stores. And while it was clear that order would prevail, it was also clear that it would be an order of prevailing power, not the order of brotherhood and justice that King had dreamed of."We are very sick," wrote the well-known journalist Murray Kempton in those days. - The country is sick if, on hearing of the murder of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, everyone fears that his death will signal violence and arson and that the first memorial to him will be children running out of burning houses".Columnist Hurriet Van Horn noted another facet of the American tragedy: "As the Negro rises now to his powerful fury, he is spurred on by three centuries of injustice. Against the background of this ominous history, only the patience and decency of most Negroes and the unspeakable magnanimity of their fallen leader are surprising.""Friday night America became a place where one realizes the meaning of the word 'anarchy,'" lamented popular reporter Jimmy Breslin after visiting the streets of Negro Washington.Here's an excerpt from his report:"When the traffic light at 13th and V Street turned red, I noticed a body on the sidewalk. A man in his thirties was lying on his back. People were rushing through the smoke of the fires, passing by without even looking at him. Two dogs, rummaging through the refuse, came up to the man and sniffed him. Two army trucks rushed past. The dogs recoiled and ran away. The man was dressed in a brown suit. Blood was running from his nose and mouth. In the darkness you couldn't see the dirt and blood on his shirt from a chest wound. "He's dead," said a passerby. "No, I think he's still breathing," objected another.The hospital was in the middle of the block. Apparently this man had made it to the corner, hoping to be picked up. The sign on the five-story building read, "Children's Hospital . Established 1870." The glass front doors were locked. The guard opened them a little.- A man is dying on the corner," I said to the watchman. The watchman turned and went into the dimly lit hallway. A short man in a dark suit emerged from the waiting room.- I'm the administrator," he said.- A man is dying on the corner,' I said.- What do you want from me? - The receptionist asked.- Help him.The administrator shook his head.- Whatever happens, I'm not sending anyone out tonight," he said. - Let someone else take care of him. We don't want to take any chances.Outside, people were still walking past the body lying in the street. Finally a police car came and took him away."This was the first day of mourning in the capital.The mourning chronicles in dozens of other cities were colorful - church services, fires, flags lowered, the crack of gunfire, silent marches, howling police and fire sirens, black-framed portraits, tear gases, wailing Negro women, the frozen smiles of naked mannequins thrown out of shop windows.The ghettos wept and exploded for five long days. Only on April 9 - the day of the funeral - did silence descend upon America, and in that silence floated the graceful ringing of bells, and thousands of voices across the country sang "We Shall Overcome."Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Kansas City, Newark - outbreaks of protest were reported in more than a hundred cities. They were extinguished by police and 61,000 National Guard troops-never before had such a large number of soldiers been deployed simultaneously in American cities. 39 people were killed. 2,000 wounded. More than 10,000 were arrested.April 1968 was second only to July 1967.And maybe only one of 200 million black and white Americans was at peace these days. He had departed his by land and now, delivered by airplane to his native Atlanta, lay in a brown casket with bronze handles, among delicate chrysanthemums, gladiolus, lilies. He lay in a coffin glassed over - a stout man in a black pastor's suit that stood out against the white upholstery of the coffin, a sloping forehead, a stiff brush of short Negro hair, rough bumps on his cheeks, the firmly closed lips of a large mouth."The Apostle of Nonviolence" did not know what a hurricane his death had caused, did not know how many people were passing away with him into oblivion, like an unusual escort which he would certainly have refused. And this escort of dead, wounded and arrested, of ashes and devastated stores, of fierce racial skirmishes, proved the unfinished business for which he had lived.He lay in a coffin placed in the chapel of a theological college, and in the Southern View Negro Cemetery the words of the epitaph were inscribed on a large white grave stone: "Free at last. Free at last. Thank you, God Almighty, I am free at last!"The line to the coffin was a kilometer and a half long. It never shortened, flowed day and night. Negroes and whites. And many, many poor blacks were saying goodbye to their Moses, who had left before they reached the Promised Land. And the black women cried over him in a plaintive voice.Yes, he left, but he also stayed. On television screens, on the pages of newspapers and magazines, the face of the living King was memorialized - the strong, tense yawn of the mouth, the yawn of the angry, furious prophet. Yes, he was now spoken of as a prophet, and he burned the hearts of his countrymen with a fierce warning that trouble awaited the people who had learned to fly in the skies like birds and swim in the seas like fish, but had not learned to walk on mother earth like brothers.And, putting the seal of truth on his words, trouble was already in the streets.He was buried as no Negro has been buried in the three hundred and fifty years of their sorrowful history on American soil. 150,000 people walked with King on his last four-mile journey through the streets of Atlanta, from Ebenezer Church, where he had been pastor, to Morehouse College, where he had graduated twenty years before. At the funeral service at Ebinezer Church, Know sat in the pews beside the common people, from Vice President Humphrey to parishioners of the deceased. President Johnson did not attend only for security reasons. King's widow and four of his children were there. Ralph Abernethy, close friends and associates. His brother and father - seeing his dead son rendered King Sr. unconscious. There was Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of the slain president, Robert Kennedy, not yet killed, not knowing that in two months he would meet his death in Los Angeles. All the other contenders for the White House - Richard Nixon, Eugene McCarthy, Nelson Rockefeller - flew to Atlanta, declaring a mournful pause in their campaigns.Thanks to television, the entire nation witnessed the memorial service at Ebenezer Church, a disguised teleoco glided across the faces of the political elite.Thousands of people who could not be accommodated by the small church waited outside - nameless and celebrities, mayors of major cities, Hollywood stars.And those people in and around the church, and the millions in front of the television screens, heard King's passionate, mystical but earthy eloquence once again. It turned out that this man who had walked so close to death for so long, speaking at his church two months before Memphis, was talking about the kind of speech he would like to hear over his casket. At his brother's request, a tape recorder was turned on, and King's words rang out in the church, trembling like the throbbing of a naked heart."I suppose that from time to time we all think realistically about the day when we will fall victim to the common denominator of life, what we call death.We all think about it, and from time to time I too think about my death and my funeral..... And every now and then I ask myself what I wanted to be said at this time, and now I want to leave you with my word.If any of you are around when I meet my last hour, let them know that I don't want a long funeral. And if there is someone to say a eulogy, tell them not to talk too long.And every now and then I ask myself what W I would like to hear.Tell him not to mention that I won the Nobel Peace Prize - it doesn't matter.Tell him not to mention that I've had three hundred or four hundred other awards - it doesn't matter. Tell him not to mention the day I went to school.I wish someone would have remembered that day that Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to give his life in service to others.I wish someone would say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to love Others.I wish you could say on that day that I tried to be just. I want you to be able to say that day that I tried to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that in my lifetime I tried to clothe the naked. I want you to be able to say on that day that in my lifetime I tried to visit those in prisons. And I want you to be able to say that in my lifetime I have tried to love and serve humanity.Yeah, if you want, say I was the drummer. Say I was the drummer of justice. Say I was the drummer for peace. And the rest doesn't matter. There will be no money left after me. There will be no luxurious, beautiful things left behind. But I want to leave behind a life of dedication.And that's all I want to say..."King's voice rose and fell, and the words of this peculiar self-characterization throbbed in the ears and hearts of the motley crowd gathered in the church, carried across America, rallying some, alienating others. These words sounded unusual for politicians and politicians, brought up on cold lawyer eloquence, not knowing what passion, pain and love live in the heart of the fighter. Posthumously King was given a certificate of a prophet, and these words smelled of something ancient, biblical, something that has been erased by time, was gutted and written off as demagoguery, and here again resurrected as genuine, real, proven by the facts of life and death.Yes, it was an impressive funeral, but, far from any sacrilege, I will say that it was also a strange funeral. Strange how? In what way was it a patina of unreality that didn't have long to exist?Strange because now the America that had been deaf to King's struggle, the America that had turned its back on a priest who was growing into a revolutionary and creating the climate for the Memphis shooting, came to King's coffin - respectfully, but not without intent, with the intention of embracing him, canonizing him in its own way, securing him posthumously, taking him from the dispossessed in the name, of course, of the great ephemeral unity of the nation.At the coffin, the battle for King's legacy began, and alongside the true heirs, false heirs emerged, truncating the great fighter and denouncer to a harmless "apostle of nonviolence."They could not be driven away from the coffin, these false heirs, but they met with a silent rebuff. Not a solemn hearse, but a pair of mules pulled by a farm wagon with high wooden sides, carried the coffin from the church to Morehouse College, where the funeral rally was held. Mules, that laboring draught of the sharecroppers of the South, who got nothing of their country's automobile affluence. And many of King's associates dressed in farmer's overalls, the prosody of marches and prisons. Amid the black mourning suits, the overalls were both a reminder, a challenge, and an oath.The April sun cast harsh shadows on the sidewalks. In the silence, the wheels of a strange wagon, taken from somewhere off the dusty, country roads, tinkled on the asphalt. In the wagon lay a coffin. And the hands of the friends led the lop-eared mules under the reins.The watchful eye of television cameras, installed along the whole route of the procession, became like a public inspector and from time to time inadvertently caught the faces of politicians with their trained, smartly tired or victorious smiles. And then, having guessed themselves on the TV screen with a special instinct, they wiped the smiles off their faces.But it was not the politicians who willingly made peace with the dead King who owned the day. Tens of thousands of people at the call of conscience from everywhere came to Atlanta to honor King. He participated in this march dead, but surely he would have been glad to see that wide stride of the ranks, the open honest faces - black and white."We shall overcome..." The song ruled the column, which seemed to have no end. The song ended the mourning rally on the Morehouse College lawn. It was the first time since the march on Washington that so many champions of equality had gathered, and, as was customary, holding hands, swaying to the beat of the tune, they led out sadly, proudly, resolutely, "We are not afraid. We are not afraid. We're not afraid tonight. Deep in my heart I believe: someday we will overcome."President Johnson was scheduled to address both houses of Congress on April 8, signaling that he would announce a major program to help blacks. But when the ghettos were pacified and congressmen objected to the "rush," the President's speech was first postponed and then canceled altogether.I visited Washington in mid-April, a week after the Atlanta funeral. The smoke of the fires no longer clouded the spring sky. The troops were gone, the rebels were waiting for trial or hiding. On North 14th Street West, uneven pyramids of brick lay along the sidewalks, remnants of collapsed walls. Pedestrians went about their business as if nothing had happened, immersed in themselves, not looking back at the fires, at the ruins. How quickly an American gets used to everything!There was money going to the King memorial funds, but some people - how can you count them? - were no longer grief and solidarity, but a mournful face and business calculations of people who know that charitable sums are not taxed. How long would the emotional turmoil last?In those days, the Negro columnist Karl Rowan (former director of the U.S. Government Information Agency, by the way) said that the haves and have-nots of America should splurge to help the have-nots. From one George Grove, who lives near Washington, D.C., he received this response: "What do you Negroes want? An invitation to Sunday dinner at my house? Half the colored people should have been sent to Africa." After reading the responses to his article, Rowan summarized, "My prescription has proved too bitter a pill for many white Americans."It was only a couple of weeks after the murder, but already Mayor Lindsay was bitterly correct in calling the national mourning a "one-day spectacle of conscience". The conversation about the fate of the ghetto was being drawn into a familiar framework: to shoot or not to shoot Negroes when they trespassed on property? The same question, but in a more practical version: is the shooting itself profitable, does it not multiply the number of such attempts?Congress, swayed, passed a law desegregating the sale and rental of residences. Officially it was declared a fitting memorial to King, though Negro leaders unanimously regarded the law as another half-measure. The legal locks on the ghetto gates had been removed, but where were the dollars to get out of those gates? Billions were still lavishly spent on killing in Vietnam.Ralph Abernethy, King's political successor, knew that the best memorial to the late leader would be a poor man's march on Washington. Preparations for the march were being finalized, but things were not going well, and Congress, the White House, and, of course, the Washington police were dead set against it.I visited Washington one more time in the latter part of June 1968, just before I left the United States. At Arlington National Cemetery, the grave of John F. Kennedy and his two children was poking through the loose rough slabs. And to the left, on the hillside, fifteen feet from these stones, a modest white cross stood among the grass, marking the grave of Senator Robert Kennedy, which had not yet become monumental.It was a hot, sunny day, the beginning of summer vacation, the season of tourism. Since some time the cemetery has become an attraction, a place to visit when coming to the capital. The crowd near the graves of the famous brothers never waned. Americans in their bright and light summer clothes clicked cameras near the parapet, aiming mostly at the modest fresh cross. This clicking, the running of children, the sounds of voices broke the elegy of eternal rest.And beyond the Arlington Memorial Bridge, on the left side of the Potomac, not far from the Lincoln Monument, where the stern white-marble lumberjack sits in his chair, who grew into a great president - the liberator of the Negroes, there was a tent, boarded up, plywood and so obviously temporary "resurrection city", broken up by the participants of the "poor man's march".The town was situated in a conspicuous place, not without symbolic meaning: the casual or casual visitor, stepping outside the fence to a rectangular long pond framed by a granite curb, could see the marble Lincoln on the left, and on the right, in the distance, the white dome of the Capitol, as if floating in the haze of a June day. But the marble president was silent; he had long ago ceased to be an advocate for the Negro and the poor. And Congress was frankly angry at the plywood and sailcloth tent outrage that was spoiling the most parade-like and best view in the capital.As we approached, by the pond, surrounded by a bunch of reporters, stood a man in a farmer's ro e, with a broad, dark face. Ralph Abernethy. He was saying something. There were few reporters, and they listened to him on duty. The poor town had been ransacked by the police many times before, and when a sensation is repeated, it loses interest. Authorities threateningly demanded that the campaign be curtailed, citing unsanitary conditions in the township, which, God forbid, would infect official-sterile Washington, and the fact that the permit had expired. Abernethy was doing the best he could, but behind his outward determination, confusion lurked.How would things go under King?The odds were still dubious, but now the absence of a leader weighed heavily. His authority was lacking. There was no mass of participants, no dynamism, no broad support.I returned to New York and a day later, looking through the newspapers, saw the broad lio of Abernethy behind the bars of a police van. The poor had been dispersed with batons, the "resurrection city" destroyed. In the machine-gun line of newspaper headlines, two caught my eye: "House committee cold to Johnson's call for strict control of ^arms sales," "Abernethy gets twenty days: disorder in the capital reduced."Thus ended the poor man's campaign. They did not resurrect America.In a bitter sense, King's death was timely. The Negro wave was beginning to recede temporarily, and the counterattacks of its opponents were mounting. In the 1968 election campaign, Nixon and Humphrey, catching the prevailing public mood, went after the Negro vote less than the white man with his predilection for conservative "law and order".George Wallace formed a third party and, to America's shame, won 10 million votes in the November 1968 election. The national headquarters of this party was in Montgomery, where King got his start as a bus boycott leader and where Wallace, his antipode, proclaimed: "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." One out of every six voters cast a vote for a racist and semi-fascist, thereby taking a political shot at both the Negro masses of America and their dead leader....EPILOGEHaving handed over my correspondent duties to the new Columbus of Izvestia, I returned from New York to Moscow and soon became convinced, through personal experience of meetings, conversations, and speeches, how great was the interest of the Soviet people in the increasing frequency of political assassinations in the United States.But I discovered something else as well: people were asking about the Kennedy brothers. Almost no one asked about Dr. King.I saw that this amazing man was little known to our readers and therefore not taken to heart. People writing about America, we mentioned his name quite often, but, alas, cursorily. And, feeling guilty, I tried to redeem myself to the best of my ability and write a dotted, incomplete chronicle of the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr. against the background of the great cause for which he fought, for which his associates, both those who agreed and those who disagreed with him on many issues, continue to fight.But it was not only the desire to fill an inexcusable, in my opinion, gap that made me make this attempt. There was another motivation. The pain and bitterness of April 4, 1968, when the news of the Memphis assassination stunned America, lived in me. And I remember the feeling of orphanhood that, sitting in front of the television, I experienced on April 9, the day of the funeral. It's the feeling one gets when a big man with a big heart leaves the world - a heart so big and strong that his biene is transmitted to the hearts of many thousands.As I delved deeper into the subject, I discovered many things previously unknown to me. And the tragedy of Martin Luther King - a figure so seemingly unusual in America in the second half of the 20th century - grew into the tragedy of America. A great country for having given birth to such a son. A cruel country for having killed him.And like the light of a dead star - a light regulated by the printing process and editorial plans - the words and thoughts of Dr. King, expressed during his lifetime and published after his death, continued to appear in various publications. The last thing that came to my attention while I was working on the book was an interview with Dr. King published in the January 1969 issue of Playboy magazine.What a strange, ironic thing, possible, apparently, only in America, where the commercially dictated habit of easily mixing everything and anything has truly become a national character trait. putting the tragic and the frivolous side by side, equating the hero and the buffoon. "Playboy is a sexually intellectual magazine. Slapstick jokes and stories, pictures of young film actresses who consider it an honor - and advertising - to present themselves naked to an American in Playboy, are juxtaposed with serious interviews and statements by serious, respected people. It is inappropriate to apologize for our hero, posthumously speaking from the pages of "Playboy" - I assure the reader that this does not diminish him in any way, but only proves what a motley country he lived in and how difficult it is to establish there the truths he proclaimed.This is the same mature King - direct and angry.He finds satisfaction in the fact that dignity has been awakened in the American Negro and that the "sullen, silent slave" of the last century has become "today's angry man" rising to the challenge.An optimist who draws his faith from history: "The past is littered with the ruins of tyrannical empires, but each of them is a monument not only to man's mistakes, but also to his ability to overcome them. While it is a bitter fact that in the America of 1968 I am denied equality simply because I am black, I am not a slave to be disposed of as property. Millions of people have fought thousands of battles to expand my freedom and have made progress. That is why I remain an optimist, though I am also a realist as to the obstacles before us."A herald of the brotherhood of men and races, praising white Americans who fell heroically in the struggle for Negro equality, but not forgetting that "a vast portion of white America is still poisoned by a racism that is as familiar to our soil as pine trees, sage and buffalo grass."A formidable judge warning his country, "America hasn't changed yet because many people think it doesn't need to change, but that's an illusion of the damned. America must change because its 23 million black citizens* are not going to dutifully live in their miserable past. They have left the valley of despair, they have found strength in struggle, and, dead or alive, they will never cower or retreat. Together with their white allies, they will shake the prison walls until the walls come tumbling down. America must change."It was the same King, a great American who ended his life's journey and began another one - in the history of his country and his people. Unlike blown public and state figures, who sometimes outlive themselves only during their lifetime, truly great people continue to live even after death. To live and grow in the consciousness of their contemporaries and descendants into immortals.While selflessly fighting for equal rights and justice for his fellow blacks, he also grasped with his mind and heart another, broader and more general truth of our time. Yes, he was one of those great men whom our age urgently and immediately demands - men who call for a united effort to save humanity from the pernicious nuclear arms race, from the threat of total annihilation.From this angle, we are now looking more and more closely at statesmen and other prominent contemporaries to see whether they have risen to the level of this special responsibility. This is how we determine who is who and who will remain who in history.The great humanist Martin Luther King has earned the right to immortality in this universal sense.*At the end of 1985, the black population in the United States totaled 23.6 million (12 percent of the total U.S. population).CONTENTS             FROM AUTHOR  5ONE APRIL EVENING 8EXCURSION SOUTH  29BIRMINGHAM BELL   58 GHETTO RIOTS      110MEMPHIS FINALE    150EPILOGUE  197Kondrashov S. Н.К 64 The Life and Death of Martin Luther King.- 2nd ed. ed.- M.: Mysl, 1986.- 236 p.70 к.The genre of S. Kondrashov's book is both a lyrical reportage, a social research and a story full of drama. By reading about the life and death of Martin Luther King, the reader will get an idea of the complexity of the political situation in the United States at that time, the despair of the Negro masses, the various aspects of the problem, which is the most difficult in American society.К 0506000000-188004[01]-86STANISLAV NIKOLAYEVICH KONDRASHOVLIFE AND DEATHMARTIN LUTHER KINGHead of the Editorial Board A. L. L a r i o n o v Editor G. A. D i k o v s k a ya Junior Editor A. P. O v s e p yan. Artwork by artist A. V. A m a s t y u r a Artistic Editor N. V. I l l a r i o n o v a Technical Editor E. A. M o l o d o va Corrector F. N. M o r o z o vaIB #3351.Dated for typesetting 30.05.86. Signed for printing 25.09.86. А 08959. Format 70X100/32Paper for deep printing. Garn. Journal. rub. High printing. Usl. printed sheets 9,67. Asl. kr.-ott. 10,23. Book-editorial sheets 10,62. Print run 50 000 copies. Order N2 913. Price 70 k.Publishing house "Mysl". 117071. Moscow, B-71, Leninsky pr., 15. Printing house of the publishing house "Kaliningradskaya Pravda",  236000, Kaliningrad obl., 18, Karla Marksa St.'.NEW BOOKSThe books will be published in 1987 by Thought Publishers:Koval B. I. Revolutionary experience of the XX century / Edited by V. V. Zagladin. V. Zagladin. 30 l., ill. 2 р. 50 к.The book is dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The main attention is paid to the disclosure of the international significance of its experience for the modern stage of the class struggle. The author tells about the most dramatic episodes of the world revolutionary movement of the XIX and XX centuries, gives a detailed characterization of the liberation struggle of peoples in the modern era. The work is written in bright publicistic language, illustrated.USA: Constitution and Human Rights / Edited by Drs. of Historical Sciences I. A. Geyevsky, V. A. Vlasikhin. 18 l., ill. 1 p. 60 k.The book raises acute social problems associated with the situation in the field of rights and freedoms of American citizens. The study is timed to the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. Using extensive documentary, research and memoir material, the authors show the ever-deepening gap between constitutional freedoms and the true situation of American workers, both white and black, who are constantly experiencing the oppression of monopolistic capital, vainly covered by political rhetoric about human rights in the "free world". The publication is illustrated.

Other Biographical Memories books

Offering this book to the reader, the author wanted to emphasize that he spent six and a half years in New York as a correspondent for "Izvestia" and during this time traveled extensively throughout the United States. These years were significant for the author, but he did not consider them a panacea. What matters is not the quantity of years lived, but the understanding they bring. From the very first days in New York, it became clear that in this city and country, a journalist would never lack events and sensational news. To understand this, it is not necessary to cross the ocean - it is enough to pick up almost any morning or evening newspaper. Who doesn't know that America is the world leader in sensationalism? Sensations, like lightning, tear through the darkness, illuminating the hidden aspects of American life. But where do the storms that sometimes frighten the rest of the world come from? They originate in the quiet corners of America, among quiet Americans. In the social system of the country, where people struggle with each other - groups, classes, races. These struggles unfold at the crossroads of America, where good and evil collide, honesty and selfishness, greatness and pettiness.