By Eben Miller
Oxford University Press, $29.95, 368 pages
The story of the NAACP and the civil rights movement is a story often told of its beginnings and its eventual triumphs in the 1960s. What is often missing is the middle part of the story, the role of Dr. King and the victory in Brown v. Board case. This book helps fill that missing void by focusing on the young people who attended the 1933 Amenia Conference to help chart a new path for the NAACP and the civil rights movement. Collected at this summer conference was the best and the brightest event of the movement. Mr. Miller focuses on five people, their life and role before and after the conference. These young people, growing up in the shadow of Jim Crow and the birth of the NAACP, brought with them a radical new vision, a vision that did not come about for many years. It took decades to reach the goal: a complete change of thinking. Mr. Miller does an excellent job bringing this often neglected part to life. Although being a welcome addition to the historiography of the civil rights movement, Mr. Miller’s observations and analysis leave room open for further research.
Reviewed by Kevin Winter