YES, BLACKS CAN MAKE IT ON THEIR OWN

Those of us old enough to remember the civil rights revolution of the '60s and the profound social transformations that preceded it may find it hard to realize that most Americans today were not yet born when all this happened.

This lack of personal knowledge is, for the unscrupulous, a golden opportunity to create a history that serves their own purposes. One of the key self-serving myths to emerge is that blacks owe their economic and social advancement to the civil rights victories of the '60s.

Incessant repetition of myths does not, of course, make them true. Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom...