DAVID LEVERING LEWIS
David Levering Lewis is author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography W. E.B. Du Bois: Biography of Race, 1868- 1919, Vol. 1; Prisoners of Honor: The Dreyfus Affair, and The Race to Fashoda: Colonialism and African Resistance, among other works.
"This is a good world and a good time in which we were born," the editors of the inaugural issue of Freedomways announced. Their optimism takes us back to a time before the Ice Age of reaction, a longago interval of exhilarating possibilities in which the underprivileged, the poor, the powerless, and the best of the progressives pushed to the forefront of the nation's history. Across the stepping stones of racial justice that could have led in time to the high ground of economic democracy marched the hosts of Blacks and browns and whites mobilized in the wake of Brown v. the Board of Education. Martin Luther King Jr.'s epic debut in Montgomery, Alabama, had come six scant years before the first issue of Freedomways. Little Rock, the South's redneck rerun of Fort Sumter, had come but four years earlier. In Atlanta, wave after wave of orderly students from the four historically Black colleges defied the city's Jim Crow ordinances and went to jail, their ringing manifesto, "An Appeal for Human Rights," catching the attention of the nation a year before the upbeat Freedomways editorial. In Raleigh, North Carolina, that same year, Ella Baker, the godmother to the civil rights movement, jump-