The Readings

These thirteen selections from the polemical writings of Henry D. Thoreau represent every stage in his twenty-two years of active writing. This edition, introduced by writer and historian Howard Zinn, is a microcosm of Thoreau’s literary career. It allows the reader to achieve a full sense of Thoreau’s evolution as a writer and thinker. Most famous of these essays is “Resistance to Civil Government,” better known as “Civil Disobedience.” Still a standard text in American high schools, it has long inspired nonviolent protest around the world. It influenced those who opposed apartheid in South Africa and motivated international anti-war demonstrators during 1960s and 1970s. “Civil Disobedience” will surely continue to influence generations of readers for years to come. (http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7719.html) I found the book very interesting but tough to read because it was such in detailed. I enjoyed the introduction on Howard Zinn, he is a fascinating guy and it was fun to learn more about him and his thoughts on civil disobedience.

is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book written in 2006 by journalists Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanof. The book is about the African American civil rights movement in the United States, specifically about the role of newspapers and television. “Race Beat” refers to reporters whose beat reporting covered issues of race.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Race_Beat)

In “The Race Beat,” the veteran journalists Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff painstakingly trace the evolution of civil rights press coverage in the South from the publication of “An American Dilemma,” by Gunnar Myrdal, in 1944 to the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Myrdal, an economist and a Swede, was no journalist. But he was probably the first observer, the authors say, to argue that “the future of race relations … rested largely in the hands of the American press.” The best antidote to racial prejudice and discrimination, Myrdal believed, was the dissemination of accurate information. “There is no doubt,” he wrote, “that a great majority of white people in America would be prepared to give the Negro a substantially better deal if they knew the facts.”(http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/21/books/review/Arsenault.t.html) I thought the book was an easy read and shocking how the press can manipulate what people think by what they put out in the press. you still see this today but when civil rights activists are putting their lives in the line, it is really detrimental to them because it cancels out all the work that they have done. White people control the news so they can put out what they want to make white people look good and African Americans look like the devil.

On May 17, 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, nine men and women entered a selective service office in Catsonville, Maryland, outside Baltimore. They removed military draft records, took them outside, and set them afire with napalm. The Catholic activists involved in this protest against the war included Daniel Berrigan and his brother Philip; all were found guilty of destroying government property and sentenced to three years in jail. Dan Berrigan fled and later turned himself in. I thought this book was an easy read and i thought this case was very interesting. I thought it was unfair that both brothers were sentenced with three years in prison. I found the sentencing to be a little harsh. This story was unique to our class because I’m not sure you would consider this act to be civil disobedience since they did a violent act. This would have been a good class topic because i believe it should still be considered civil disobedience but as of our class definition, it does not go along with what we stated.

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