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Robert Penn Warren, from Segregation: The Inner Conflict in the South
(New York: Random House, 1956).

I remember asking a Negro school teacher if she thought Negro resentment would be a bar to integration. "Some of us try to teach love," she says, "as well as we can. But some of us teach hate. I guess we can't help it."

Love and hate, but more than that, the necessity of confronting our own motives: Do we really want to try to work out a way to live with the white people or do we just want to show them, pay off something, show them up, rub their noses in it?

And I can imagine the grinding anger, the sense of outrage of a Negro crying out within himself: After all the patience, after all the humility, after learning and living those virtues, do I have to learn magnanimity, too?

Yes, I can imagine the outrage, the outrage as some deep, inner self tells him, yes, he must.

I am glad that white people have no problem as hard as that.

Copyright © 1956 by Robert Penn Warren.  Selected from the Library of America anthology.  See  Reporting  Civil  Rights:  American Journalism 1941-1963.