Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour

1712 words 7 pages
Jerome Carlos Johnson
SOCI 3345: Sociology of the 1960’s
Five Page Book Review: Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour by Peniel Joseph
February 28, 2013

Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour by Peniel Joseph

Within the eleven chapters that comprise Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour lays a treasure chest of information for anyone interested in Black or African American history, particularly the civil rights movement that took place during the 1950’s and 1960’s. I am a self-professed scholar of African American history and I found an amazing amount of information that I was not aware of. Like most who claim to be Black History experts, I was aware of the roles of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey. However,
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Perhaps the most poignant chapter in the book is chapter 7, which is entitled, “What We Gonna Start Saying Now Is Black Power!” In this chapter we see the birth of the Black Power movement. This is a very powerful chapter for many reasons, including that in my opinion this is the point where the civil rights movement began to move toward a more assertive methodology and Dr. Martin Luther King began to lose relevance. At first SNCC was an organization that believed in non-violent civil disobedience but over time the organization became more militant. By 1965 it was obvious that Stokely Carmichael was leading the organization from its roots as a non-violent integrationist group toward a much more militant nationalist way of thinking. During the summer of 1966 attention shifted to the Mississippi Delta, which was a hotbed of racial discord. This is of special significance to me because my parents were both born and reared in the Mississippi Delta. My grandfather shared many stories with me about the tumultuous 1960’s in the Mississippi Delta. Most of those stories were horrific but Waiting “Til the Midnight Hour put a whole new perspective on it by introducing me to the major players with great detail. In this chapter we see Dr. Martin Luther King and Stokely Carmichael in Mississippi during the time that James Meredith was embarking upon his March Against Fear. His plan was to march from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi as a symbol of his