False, unscientific belief in racial superiority.

In March 1945, the Torchlight, a student journal at Atlantic Christian College — a small college founded in Wilson in 1902 — published this surprisingly progressive review of Lillian Smith’s Strange Fruit:

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“True, the affair between Tracy and Nonnie is disturbing; but an illicit affair should be disturbing, regardless of a situation of mixed races. No, the love affair is not Lillian Smith’s problem; the thing she points out with capital letters is the question: What are we going to do about the Negroes in our country, the Negroes who are thinking and desiring a new life? And that question is one we must answer soon. If Lillian Smith has awakened one person to the cruelty involved in a false, unscientific belief in racial superiority and to a consciousness of the white people whose misused power has produced a spiritual degeneracy, her purpose has been accomplished. …Revolting, shocking book? Yes, for those who cling to the past!”

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