Cover image for Farther along : a civil rights memoir
Farther along : a civil rights memoir
Caplan, Marvin Harold, 1919-
Publication Information:
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 286 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.98.C37 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Over four decades, Marvin Caplan - white, Jewish, male, a northerner - crafted his career, volunteered his free time, chose his neighbourhood, and raised his children against the yardstick of racial prejudice. This is the passionate liberal's retelling of his lifelong work to change society.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The past 10 years have provided rich documentation on the essential work of the foot soldiers of the civil rights movement, without national attention, in the '50s and '60s. This memoir offers another perspective, that of a white man working for civil rights in an urban context. Caplan describes his World War II experiences and then his work on the liberal Southern Jewish Outlook in Richmond. When his family moved to Washington, D.C., in 1951, he became involved in efforts to desegregate department store restaurants. Next he worked with Neighbors, Inc., a group that fought "white flight" in northwest Washington. After years as a reporter, Caplan was named executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in 1963 and headed that coalition of several dozen groups until 1981; he also served as legislative director for the Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO. Readers will be glad Caplan didn't follow in his kosher butcher father's footsteps; instead, he worked all his life to extend the principles of the Declaration of Independence to all Americans. --Mary Carroll

Choice Review

As the dream of racial integration fades, as socialism struggles to survive, and as union membership declines, Caplan reaffirms his belief in all three. Caplan, a journalist, remains an optimist about their possibilities but has been chastened by the changed circumstances since the 1960s. He concludes that racial integration may come in the age of his grandchildren, and he assumes that union activity in the 1996 election is a sign of hope. He admits that the "Second Reconstruction" did not benefit the black underclass but strongly asserts that it brought considerable progress to black people. Although his memoir has little new information for scholars, the general reader and student of history will find his story interesting. His views as a Wallace Progressive in 1948 and his efforts in the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights are enlightening. He writes with verve and humor. This is a statement by a practitioner of liberal and sometimes radical beliefs who recognizes his own doubts about integration but firmly believes our society has progressed "farther along." He lives in retirement in an integrated neighborhood in Washington, DC. General readers; undergraduates. L. H. Grothaus emeritus, Concordia University