The book What the Negro Wants brings together the answers of fourteen prominent Negro leaders who represent various view- points--Southern, Northern, conservative, liberal, radical--but who are unanimous in asserting that what the Negro wants is total equality: precisely the same rights, opportunities, privileges, and responsibilities as other Americans. But wanting total equality and getting it are two different things, especially in the South. What white Southerners, and Americans generally, think and do about the matter are necessarily the determining factors.
Inside and outside the South there are various groups which would severally force the Negro backward, hold him where he is, permit him to progress in certain fields and up to certain points, and those who would guarantee him total equality. Here we are concerned with ways and means of bringing about the latter. There are many reasons why we cannot simply cry, "Aiming point identified!" and shoot the works.
Standing in the way of total equality in the South is the formidable institution of white supremacy. At the moment the regime is slightly inclined to permit Negroes a measure of economic and political advancement, provided that segregation shall remain as a barrier against "social equality."
The administrators and press agents of white supremacy are brutally frank about this. For instance, Governor Chauncey Sparks of Alabama has not hesitated to inform the Negro students of Tuskegee Institute, face to face, that "absolute segregation" and "independent development" should govern the future