America, he maintained, “even in its most rigidly segregated precincts,” was a “nation of multicolored people,” or Omni-Americans: “part Yankee, part backwoodsman and Indian — and part Negro.”Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote a New Yorker article called "King of Cats" about Murray (and Murray's close friend Ralph Ellison), which said:
The book also challenged what Mr. Murray called the “social science fiction” pronouncements of writers like James Baldwin, Richard Wright and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who he said had exaggerated racial and ethnic differences in postulating a pathology of black life. As Mr. Murray put it, they had simply countered “the folklore of white supremacy” with “the fakelore of black pathology.”
"Both men were militant integrationists, and they shared an almost messianic view of the importance of art.... In their ardent belief that Negro culture was a constitutive part of American culture, they had defied an entrenched literary mainstream, which preferred to regard black culture as so much exotica — amusing perhaps, but eminently dispensable. Now they were also defying a new black vanguard, which regarded authentic black culture as separate from the rest of American culture — something that was created, and could be appreciated, in splendid isolation."Murray died last Sunday at the age of 97. The quotes above come from the NYT obituary. You can read the New Yorker article, from 1996, here.
ADDED: Speaking of culture, why wasn't this man in the forefront of American culture all these years?