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(CIVIL RIGHTS.) Correspondence between NAACP leader Walter White and a white journalist, debating the merits of the "Negro press." 10 items: 2 Letters Signed by Walter White, 3 other letters from NACCP offices, 2 memoranda compiled by the NAACP, and 3 retained carbon typescripts of letters by Robert R. Gros. 15 pages, each 11 x 8 1/2 inches; folds, staples, minimal wear. Vp, April-October 1943
Robert Richard Gros (1915-1997) was a publicist for Pacific Gas and Electric who doubled as a popular lecturer on current events, interviewing important world figures and then sharing his impressions with the public. In February 1943, he interviewed NAACP Executive Secretary Walter F. White (1893-1955) about the "growing race problem in America." In April, he followed up with a long letter to White, proposing that "the American Negro himself must bear a large share of the blame." In particular, he faulted the "Negro press" for "trying to find some race discrimination . . . in even the most innocuous incident."
White, then at the peak of an impressive career as an activist, responded with remarkable thoroughness and patience. Over the course of several letters, he provided dozens of examples of the very real problems faced by his community, and the important role which the press played in addressing them. He also gathered and abstracted 10 rebuttals from editors across the country, including his eventual NAACP successor Roy Wilkins of the New York Crisis. The exchange concludes with a final letter by Gros, who appears to have been at least somewhat enlightened.
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