A Good Man IsnHard to Findnby Forrest McDonaldnAnd the Walls CamenTumbling Downnby Ralph David AbernathynNew York: Harper & Row;n•638 pp., $25.00nThe road to hell, I was taught as anchild, is paved with good intentions.nSurely no one could fault thenintentions of the Reverend Ralph DavidnAbernathy — Martin Luther King’snright arm and successor in the SouthernnChristian Leadership Conference — asnrevealed in this fascinating and movingnautobiography. Inspired by faith in Divinenmercy, by a Christian vision ofnbrotherhood among the races, and bynhope of succor for the poor, the weak,nand the oppressed, Abernathy has devotednhis life to the cause unstintingly,ncourageously, even heroically. Moreover,ngrand as this dream may havenbeen, it was the moderate position innthe context of the civil rights movementnof the 1960’s, even as SCLC’s advocacynof nonviolent demonstrations wasnthe tactic of moderation. SCLC stoodnmidway between an older generationnthat preferred not to rock the boat and anyounger one, led by the likes of RapnBrown and Stokely Carmichael, whosenBOOKS ON CASSETTESn^’^ The Conservative Classicsn^ Unabridged Recordingsn^ Purchase & 30 Day Rentalsn1^ Books by Buckley, Gilder,nSowell, Muggeridge, PaulnJohnson, Friedman, Hayek,nTocqueville, Kirk, Mises,nPodhoretz & scores of others.nCLASSICS ON TAPEnP.O. Box 969, Ashland, OR 97520niiMiinmiiiiiitiHiiiiiiMJinlEBUmtUit HIIMIIPnIfflRGEGllDERn6*> For Free Catalog, Calln1 (800) 729-2665n34/CHRONICLESnREVIEWSncounsel was “Burn, baby, burn.”nBut the enterprise was inherentlynflawed. For openers, almost extra-humanndiscipline was required to keepnnonviolent demonstrations nonviolent,nand though SCLC managed to do sonfor a while, the movement ultimatelynand inevitably got out of hand. Thenriots in Watts (about which Abernathy isnstrangely silent) followed the last greatnpeaceful march at Selma by only fivenmonths. And eyen in the most controllednphases of the movement, therenwas something intrinsically violentnin the massing of protesters; by Abernathy’snown account, though the demonstratorsnwere carefully taught restraint,ntheir purpose was to provoke anviolent response by law enforcementnofficers and thus attract media attentionnand capture the sympathy of the nation.nFinally, whatever the philosophicalnmerits of civil disobedience, its destructivenessnis potentially enormous, for anynsociety that is restrained only by individualnconscience inexorably degeneratesninto a Hobbesian state of nature.nStill, Abernathy and King were askingnno more than they were constitutionallynand morally entitled to, and,ngiven everything, nonviolent resistancenwas possibly the only effective meansnavailable. Besides, it worked — for antime. The most difficult and most successfulnventure was that in Birminghamnearly in 1963. Despite court-decisionsndeclaring that de jure segregation ofnpublic facilities was unconstitutional,-nBirmingham remained rigidly segregated,nand its police commissioner.nBull Connor, was a brutally sadisticnracist. But after weeks of daily demonstrationsnand continuous boycotts, thencity’s business leaders negotiated a desegregationnagreement. That campaignnwas followed in August by thenmarch on Washington, where Kingngave his “I have a dream” speechnbefore a crowd of 250,000, which innturn was followed by the enactment ofnthe Public Accommodations Act ofn1964. A year later came the marchnfrom Selma to Montgomery, whichnresulted in the Voting Rights Act ofn1965.nnnThat was the climax. Those in thencenter of the movement were soon tonlearn some painful lessons; for thenwalls that had come tumbling downnwere those of a Southern wodd that —nthe humiliations of Jim Crow and thenbrutality of Bull Connor notwithstanding—nwas a good deal kinder and gendernthan the world on the outside.nThe lessons began in 1966, whennthe SCLC invaded Chicago to form ancoalition of black groups and “dramatizenthe plight of urban blacks to thendecent people of Chicago and to thennation.” Instead, Abernathy and hisnassociates encountered intense hatredn— intra- as well as interracial — and ansolidly entrenched system. Strange as itnmay seem, they had as yet experiencednlittle of either. Abernathy’s descriptionnof his childhood will astound thosenwho know the segregated South onlynas a stereotype. He had grown up innrural Alabama, surrounded by a lovingn(and disciplining) family. The one uglynracial incident in his youth came whenna drunken white taunted and vaguelynthreatened him, but the drunk wasnquickly silenced by another white:n”Don’t you touch that boy! That’s thenson of W.L. Abernathy.” Abernathynserved in a segregated unit in the Armynduring World War II, but he wasndiscriminated against primarily as anSoutherner, not as a black. During thendemonstrations in the South, whitenofficialdom had harshly maltreated thenmarchers, but with surprisingly fewnexceptions the white citizenry hadnlooked passively upon their doings. Byncontrast, in Chicago, the Daley politicalnmachine neutralized them throughnco-option, while the white citizens,nseething with rage, hurled epithets,nbricks, and bottles at them. Even morenshocking to Abernathy was the behaviornof Chicago’s blacks. “We had nonidea,” he writes, that black “gangsnexisted in Chicago . . . looting, robbing,nraping, and terrorizing wholenneighborhoods. . . . They had nothingnbut contempt for the church and fornreligion, which meant that we couldnnot appeal to them.” Worse yet was thenfierce hostility of black jailers, guards,n