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Negroes on the March, by Daniel Guerin; The Negro Potential, by Eli Ginzberg

- Abstract

Daniel Guemn’s Negroes on the March is the translation of an extract from his Ou Va le Peuple Americain?, a two-volume work published in Paris in 1951. The larger work, so the author tells us, was the product of a visit to the United States in 1947 and 1948. While he has attempted to bring the translated extract up to date by “noting the main occurrences and developments between 1951 and 1954,” the predominant tone and outlook are still that of 1948—the year of the Henry Wallace campaign, when revolution was around the corner, and heroic formulas for social problems were the order of the day.

Mr. Guerin begins his book with an attack on another foreign critic of American race policies, the Swedish scholar Gunnar Myrdal, author of An American Dilemma. His main criticism is that Myrdal “does not explain how, by whom and why race prejudice was brought into being.” The Swedish writer’s conclusions are “quite in harmony with the concerns of those who subsidized his work [the Carnegie Corporation], and serve their interests quite well.” The corporation did not want “the real causes of the evil to be laid bare; for if a cause-and-effect relationship were established between capitalist oppression and race prejudice, the victims of race prejudice would be likely to draw conclusions dangerous to the established order, while the white victims of capitalist oppression would be inclined to ally themselves with the colored people.”

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