"THE RAZOR’S EDGE OF THE MOVEMENT"
FARMER, James. Freedom—When? New York: Random House, (1965). Octavo, original half black cloth and blue paper boards, original dust jacket.
First edition of a major assessment of the Civil Rights movement by CORE's influential founder, boldly signed and dated by him, "James Farmer, 1966."
Farmer, whose impact on the Civil Rights movement ranks with that of Dr. King, Whitney Young of the Urban League, and Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, was "the principal founder of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)." To journalist Claude Sitton, the Freedom Riders and "CORE under Farmer often served as the razor's edge of the movement… It was CORE's James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner… who became the first fatalities of the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964… In 1963 Louisiana state troopers armed with guns, cattle prods and tear gas, hunted him door to door when he was trying to organize protests in the town of Plaquemine. 'I was meant to die that night,' Farmer once said… On one tense occasion in the early 60s, after a particularly vicious spate of violence, Attorney General Robert Kennedy suggested that Farmer's followers postpone some of their Freedom Rides… so that everyone could 'cool off.' Farmer refused, saying, 'We have been cooling off for 350 years'" (New York Times).
In Freedom—When? Farmer writes of that terrible night in Plaquemine, as well as Gandhi's influence on CORE. He recalls his meetings with Malcolm X and their differences that never stood in the way of "mutual respect." Farmer also closely analyzes the different paths and strategies of the Civil Rights movement, of the ongoing battle for strong voting rights legislation, and much more. In his pensive conclusion, Farmer observes that the African American struggle has taught him: "We will be for ourselves, but not only for ourselves, for America, for mankind. And all of this is possible because we are making ourselves free." First edition: "First Printing'" stated on copyright page. Introduction by Jacob Cohen.
Book fine; slight toning as often to spine of bright near-fine dust jacket.