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Anti-apartheid activist and author Alan Paton, who wrote the novel Cry, the Beloved Country in 1948, is the subject of Thursday’s Google Doodle as the platform celebrates what would have been his 115th birthday.
The static Doodle features a painted Paton enjoying the train ride said to have inspired the now-classic novel that helped incite local and global anger at the apartheid regime.
“I hoped to influence my fellow whites,” Paton said of the novel before passing away in 1988 at the age of 85. “I still believe there is hope.”
Alan Paton wrote Cry, the Beloved Country to spur his “fellow whites” into action
Cry, the Beloved Country tells the story of Reverend Stephen Khumalo who searches for his sister whom he believes ill, as well as for his son, who murdered a white man.
Paton, who was subject to intense corporal punishment as a child, grew up strongly opposing authoritarianism, and in 1953, he co-founded the Liberal Party of South Africa opposing the National Party’s apartheid legislation.
Paton served as president of the party until the NP forced its dissolution in the 1960s due to its housing of black and white members. He went on to publish more novels and an autobiography.