Moderates Losing Ground Over Race Issue, Says Oscar Handlin

"Time is not on the side of the moderates but of the extremists" in resolving America's race problem, Oscar Handlin, Winthrop Professor of History, declared yesterday in a signed article in the Boston Globe.

"Some Negroes have altogether lost faith in America and in their Christian concept of brotherhood," Handlin said, citing the growth of the Black Muslims and the disillusionment of Negro intellectuals such as James Baldwin.

On the other hand, white racists in the South have regrouped considerably since the Supreme Court school de-segregation decision of 1954, Handlin pointed out. "Since then a new racist ideology has appeared, the Klan has reassembled and pockets of hard-core resistance have developed."

Negro Militancy

Negroes are becoming increasingly militant, Handlin suggested, because "the taste of a bit of equality does not appease the underprivileged; it makes them hungry for more."


"Fortunately," he continued, "the Negro has not resorted to violence thus far. But it would be a mistake to assume that there is no limit to his patience."

In the 20 years since World War II, Handlin said that the American Negro has made more progress towards equality than he achieved during the 80 years between World War II and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Majority Reject Extremes

"The mass of Americans still reject both extremes--black and white," Handlin said. "They know that the only tolerable future for the United States, on which all Western civilization depends, is a free republic. And, in their hearts, they realize that freedom can only be associated with equality. They would like to see a gradual movement in that direction.

"But they are tempted to procrastinate and therein lies the danger. Time is running out for the moderates. Their time to act is now," he concluded.