Books by Chester Himes
He Hollers Let Him Go! /
Cotton Comes to Harlem /
Rage in Harlem /
The Third-Generation /
Cast the First Stone
The Quality of Hurt: The Early Years: Autobiography /
My Life of Absurdity-Autobiography /
The Collected Stories of Chester-Himes
The End of a Primitive
Yesterday Will Make You Cry /
Lonely Crusade /
Conversations with Chester Himes
* * *
The Dark Role of Excess in the
The Genesis of the Urban Street Literature Market and
its Foundational Tropes of Black Excess
By Keenan Norris
If we look at the market-exploitation of excessiveness
and outrageousness as associated with lower-income black
ghetto culture in the marketing of Chester Himes' work
and carried forward by books like Shannon Holmes'
Dirty Game, we recognize the relatively sudden
penetration of over-emphasized black physicality and
criminality into the mainstream commercial space of
literary fiction-writing. These texts, both in the fact
of their very existence in major bookstores across the
country and in their undeniable popularity, signal a
shift in what is acceptable.
Exiled to the darker corners of the national
imagination, tropes of black excess, ironically, have
re-emerged into the mainstream in recent years due to an
ever-widening liberalism that tolerates all manner of
discourse, excessiveness and outrageous rhetoric.
Whatever the causes, urban street lit*, as Holmes' works
are termed in commercial literary discourse, has created
new mainstream space for the consumption of black
excessiveness and outrageousness.
As evidence of the most unabashed deployment of the
black excessive look to pages the covers of novels like
Thong on Fire and
published by imprints of Simon & Schuster and One World,
respectively. While these books represent the nadir of
the genre, they do not describe its origins. For that,
we must look to Chester Himes' strange work.
A Rage in Harlem: the scene on the book's cover
is rendered from a unique vantage point, from behind the
rotating blade of an old electric fan, the fan set, it
would appear, in an open apartment window. Through the
spinning of the blade we can see down onto a busy street
of pedestrians and cars moving in various directions.
That the building is a tenement without a central
heating or air-conditioning system is implied. The
poverty of the tenants is at least suggested. The heat
and fetid humidity of summer is indicated. The
omnipresent claustrophobia of the city is conveyed,
thus, quite succinctly to the viewer. While rendered
quite skillfully in technical terms, nothing in this
window shot of a commonplace cityscape is necessarily
excessive. Nothing described so far is necessarily
linked to tropes of black excessiveness. Such scenes are
staples of New York movies that I have seen, from
Raging Bull (a cast of Italian-Americans) to
What absolutely associates the cover art here with
tropes of black excess is twofold. First, the entire
picture is cast in a fire red tint. No apartment window
I know of glows this red. The reddest afternoon sunset
is not nearly this monochromatic, and, anyway, absent an
extreme high voltage lava lamp, the red glow would
emanate from outside the window (the source of light
being the sun), not from the inside of the apartment.
Meanwhile, the half-italicized title (a rage
in harlem, its bright yellow lettering reads)
both disrupts the conventional stylistic logic of either
fully italicizing or leaving completely unitalicized the
print and, more importantly, focuses the viewer's
attention on the "rage" present in a historically black
ghetto. That Harlem has been, variously, populated by
Jews, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans throughout its history,
as well as blacks, is beside the point. All black people
are not enraged either. The cover art speaks not to
truth but to long-popular tropes of black rage, black
ghettoization and black crime. Rage is an adjective with
more than one meaning, obviously; but in this case Himes
means for the noun, Harlem (and the hardships, the
segregation, the poverty it connotes), to modify the
adjective and for the viewer to associate "rage" with
the harshness of ghetto life.
The bright red color of the picture can connote fire
from a riot or blood from a murder, but whatever the
specific interpretation, the general sense taken away is
one of color-coded trouble. Not only does the red
coloration suggest trouble, but the popular association
of Harlem with black persons and the popular association
of blacks with all manner of illegal excess* also
suggests trouble. Again, the cover art vividly plays to
tropes of racialized, color-coded excess, particularly
the tropes of intractable black poverty, irresolvable
anger and ever-impending calamity.
Explanatory Digression: Excess and Trope
Zygmunt Bauman argues in his essay "Excess: An
Obituary," the logic of the market is based not on the
observation or delineation of things present, or
interrogation of things absent, but on the creation of
things not yet existent. Thus the mass media must alter
the given culture. Moreover, it must not subtract from
that culture or interrogate absences and silences within
the culture; it must, instead, augment culture via a
tactic of excess that adds on to prevailing notions,
convictions, prejudices, etc. within the society. These
notions, convictions, and prejudices and so on we, for
our purposes here, may call tropes. Tropes are
conventions so deeply embedded within the collective
society, within the collective psyche that they are
generally present yet emerge into vividness by proxy, in
altered forms, as political manifestos, mission
statements, mass-marketable art and entertainment.
These tropes become widely psychically embedded within
culture via a specific means. Bauman states, "Norm is
the foundation of excess; thanks to the excess invoking
the norm as its foundation, the question of the
foundation of the norm may be skipped or never asked.
Excess needs a norm to make sense..." (Bauman, 85). The
excessive can only emerge out of something considered
normative. Thus, our American economy, cultural as well
as financial, which via its control of capital is
situated as a normative base and judge, defines normalcy
and creates, and, upon creation, defines cultural and
market excess. Economic growth models are thus, by
definition, not concerned with decrease or the
observation or interrogation of self-defined norms but
are instead creative and measure success in terms of
blind increase, that is, in terms of excess. The economy
and the valuations made by the economy, then, are not
based on a genuine sense of norm, but on the fabrication
of excess in different venues.
"When norms lose their grip," Bauman argues, "order can
rely only on excess for its continuing phantom-like
existence" (86). "Excess, that sworn enemy of the norm,
has itself become the norm... Nothing is excessive once
excess is the norm" (88). In the absence of an actual
foundation for normative judgments (for instance, in an
economy based on the perpetual creation of wealth),
excess seems to become normative. The recognition of
excess, even where plainly visible, is obliterated. The
tropes of black American excess, so deeply embedded in
the cultural psyche that hyper-sexuality and rage, for
instance, are seen as unremarkable when placed upon
The tropes by which blacks are popularly defined in our
cultural economy are not the product of close
observation or interrogation of how black people 'really'
are but instead are the product of the creation of
excessive traits. Thus, black culture is chiefly
understandable within the wider mainstream culture and
is commercially lucrative based on the extent to which
it can put forth a rhetoric of its own sexual
outrageousness, its promiscuity and prowess, its own
excessive criminality, its own excessive anger. Thus,
writers and publishers of the black experience are
well-served financially to create and maintain an
industry, or sub-industry, based in these tropes*.
Before entering in on a specific analysis of
entertainment objects*, though, I want first to
delineate what I see as an important complicity of
interests, those being the interests of liberal
government, the mass media and artists/ intellectuals.
The inter-relation of these groups and the
interest-driven rhetoric by which they function is
important, I think, in understanding why there is so
little room for observation or interrogation or
disinterested creation of popular culture.
Explanatory Digression: Alteration
Hannah Arendt identifies a cultural phenomenon: that the
conflict between philosophy and rhetoric has turned, in
modern times, into a war by proxy with the opposed
functionings of intellectuals, only fitfully at home in
academe, and the apparatuses of government, the print
and television media, increasingly at odds. "To be
sure," she writes, "Plato's dream did not come true: the
Academe never became a counter-society, and nowhere do
we hear of any attempt by the universities at seizing
power. But what Plato never dreamed of did come true:
The political realm recognized that it needed an
institution outside the power struggle... Very unwelcome
truths have emerged from the universities...." (256).
This uneasy relationship between political power and
intellectual society does not mirror but actually
inverts the classical relationship between rhetoric and
philosophy, because what Arendt suggests is that in the
modern world the great public universities (i.e., the
philosophers) must work in service of the government
(i.e., the rhetoricians). If to say that they work in
service of government is too strong a terminology
then at least it can be said that they are massively
funded by the state and are accordingly dependent on the
The higher discourse thus serves the lower. I would
assert that the classical conflict between philosophy
and rhetoric is not so much alive in the relationship
between governments and universities as between
governments and independent intellectuals, whose work
(as differentiated from their product) finds support
only in relation to its ability to be processed into
product so as to appeal to foundations rendering
fellowship and grant money, universities offering jobs,
commercial publishers and other forms of media that
disseminate product that promises sizeable corporate
In the absence of a university system more fundamentally
opposed to power, intellectuals and artists find an
indirect and troubling power when allied with commercial
sponsors that grant them surprisingly free range. The
irony is that modern artists, allied to publishers,
corporations, etc, and represented in this essay by the
commercially successful novelists that I will examine,
tend to gain popularity the more excessive, the more
outrageous their work is.
A question that might be raised in relation this
assertion is, Why does the market and society seem to
respond positively to the excessive and outrageous?
In her essay "The Crisis in Culture" Arendt writes that
"those who produce for the mass media ransack the entire
range of past and present culture in the hope of finding
suitable material. This material, moreover, cannot be
offered as it is; it must be altered in order to become
entertaining, it must be prepared to be easily consumed"
(204). Thus, the market responds positively to that
which entertains. Product is tailored to entertain.
Arendt adds that material cannot exist as is but must be
made different. It is this turn in Arendt's argument
that really defines the special danger of mass media's
impact on modern culture. That material from the past
and especially the present is "alter[ed]" in order to
provide entertainment begs the question, in what way
is said material altered, how, exactly, is its basic
form augmented or reduced?*
As regards urban street literature (also commonly called
hip-hop fiction), the entire range of past and present
culture is altered via the tactic of excess. Applied to
this specific class of literature, Arendt's notion of
alteration acquires its danger, for it is not simply
that the visual rhetoric of a Chester Himes or Shannon
Holmes book cover is altered somehow and is different
from what our society considers to be reality. "The
falseness of a judgment," Nietzsche tells us, in his
critique of valuation in Beyond Good and Evil,
"is for us not necessarily an objection to a judgment.
The question is to what extent it is life-promoting,
life-preserving, species-preserving.... (Nietzsche, 4).
In my critique of the excessiveness so pervasive in the
visual rhetoric used to market urban street literature
the weight of judgment falls not on the veracity of the
visual representations before us but on their
connotations and general effect. Nietzsche, after first
invalidating the premises of fundamental valuation,
argues that relative valuation is still possible and
bases that valuation, with beautiful simplicity, on the
practical effect of a thing. The art/entertainment
objects (i.e., the book covers) that head the work of
urban street writers such as Chester Himes, Shannon
Holmes, Sapphire, Terri Woods, Darrin Coleman, et. al.
are not particularly life-promoting or preserving. The
visual rhetoric at issue markets an easily consumable
sub-culture by leveraging a variety of tropes of black
excess as its method of "alter[ation]" (204) and
Chester Himes is the initiator of the blaxploitation
style. Whereas Himes' early novels, such as
Hollers Let Him Go and
Yesterday Will Make You
Cry, set themselves in explicit opposition to white
dominance, the Harlem crime novels eschew situations
wherein there is possibility for fundamental
socio-political change in favor of storylines that revel
in ghetto style, hyper-coolness, exaggerated sexuality.
As such, Himes' work is the forerunner to the
blaxploitation film genre* and to gangster rap music.
The entertainment object that heads a Himes novel, its
book cover, speaks to this complex relationship to the
market, as well as to the theme of
The cover of Himes'
The Heat's On, which is yet
another novel in the author's Harlem cycle, re-published
as part of the Vintage Crime series, pictures a
phantasmagoric portrait of two almost oppositely shaded
faces, one shaded darkly in black and purple, the other
softly lit, mostly in yellows and reds. Both heads seem
to rise from a common source, a mutual torso. Both
faces, while differently hued, possess typical Negroid
features. Their broad noses and ample cheekbones signal
that the illustrator and wants the viewer to understand
that this is a book concerned with black people, or at
least with black men.
One face is elevated, situated above the second face,
which is physically lower down and apparently
subordinate. The elevated face is upturned, the
subordinate face turned down. The upturned face is cast
in far lighter color and his look is happier, the
downturned face is shaded darkly and the countenance is
This contrast in the trajectory of each gaze, the
dominant and inferior position of each face, is
suggestive of a simplistic binary symbolism: the man
whose gaze has achieved upward trajectory would, in this
formulation, be the man destined to better prospects in
life, while his darker, lowlier counterpart would be
moving toward a base existence. In this formulation,
black maleness is represented as having two possible
destinies, one good, one terrible, one light, one dark,
etc. While this is an unrewarding interpretation in
terms of economic and status mobility, it is an
interpretation easily understood and happily consumed by
an audience familiar with easily understood cues/tropes,
Another aspect of the cover art is the physical
relationship between the two faces. They seem to emerge
from the same torso. But they also are represented as
having risen from that shared body into an apparent
physical separation. Separating the faces is a jaggedly
etched skyline of high-rise buildings, lofts, projects
towers, factory facades and skyscrapers. This separation
of the two faces, the two men evokes curiosity-- why and
how, exactly, are these two black men so suddenly
separate? Is their separation the cause or the result of
hardship, or a necessary and positive evolution?
Perhaps the ruthless system of New York itself, the
city's claustrophobia, its multiplicity of squalid
housing projects, its abandoned industrial sector, its
incredible expressions of power and wealth, have
separated the men from one another. Perhaps this is an
unjust separation, or perhaps it is a socially
acceptable, even appropriate one. Maybe the urban
phenomena-- high-rise buildings, lofts, projects towers,
factory facades, skyscrapers-- have bound the men
together. Maybe the men must co-inhabit one another's
destinies, so that black poverty and black wealth, black
luxury and black squalor become indissoluble in the
claustrophobia of a crowded, essentially segregated
city. These differing interpretations have at their root
the attempt to understand the relationship between the
two faces. The conceptual limitation of Himes' Harlem
project, bounded by the tropes it accepts, is exposed.
Finally, the viewer of the cover art is moved toward
melodramatic interpretation by the absence of variety.
Interpretive possibility is constrained. There seems no
third way for the picture to be understood. As is often
the case with the depiction of black subjects in arts
and entertainment, the seeming absence of interpretive
options, the reliance on familiar tropes, encourages
excessive interpretation of those options that are
readily understandable and familiar: thus, the faces
become sites of excess, of tremendous light and terrible
darkness, hope and despair, optimism and rage.
There is, however, another interpretation of the cover
art that speaks to the residual complexity that Himes
carried over from his social protest novels to his
Harlem cycle. There is heavy use of black and purple to
define the face of the subordinate black man on the
cover. The cityscape separating the subordinate man from
his upward-inclined counterpart is shaded in a
dissipating purple and a fervent shade of blue. Purple,
blue, black, these colors convey a sense of cool, of
grace and elan. The non-aggressive affect of this
color palette makes more subterranean and ambivalent the
range of tropes conveyed.
Without engaging in too much speculation as to artistic
intent, I can assert that the cover art for
The Heat's On introduces the theme of coolness that
marks Himes' Harlem cycle. In constructing coolness,
Himes is suggesting a way to avoid the wrenching
internal and external conflicts blacks face in America,
conflicts hinted at in the two black male faces in the
cover art. According to the tactic of coolness, black
people can elide the seemingly inevitable confrontation
with white economic dominance by constructing a
meta-culture inside American borders but outside the
American way of life that is based not on prevailing
economic and status valuations but on the assertion of
cool. Coolness derives its power from its disregard for
conventional sites of cultural importance. It is cool
toward and disengaged from these sites or tropes.
The visual rhetoric heading Himes' work, its cover art,
suggests an essential disregard for the tropes and sites
of importance in the dominant culture. Interestingly,
the Himes cover art achieves this coolness not by
erasing or hiding away the negative tropes (i.e., the
dark-light binary, the suggestions of claustrophobic
inner-city life and black male disempowerment and
despair). These tropes, obviously prevalent in the
society at large, are not hidden from sight on the cover
of Himes' book. Himes' cover art suggests that a cool,
detached disregard for conventional economic and social
concerns can co-exist with and remain unaffected by
those conventional economic and social concerns.
Himes' troubled torch has been taken up, first by the
blaxploitation films, now by a new generation of writers
and artists. The blaxploitation films made their
indebtedness to Himes known by adapting his stories to
the silver screen.
Cotton Comes to Harlem is the
best example of this open borrowing. Since then, though,
the Himes style has been re-branded, first as gangster
rap, now in the guise of the 'new' urban street
literature. Walk into the "African-American" books
section of any Barnes & Noble or WaldenBooks
and there before you will be title after title
representing the resurgent genre.
Urban street literature is currently sought-after and
valued within the mainstream publishing industry, its
chief creators, among them Darrin Coleman, Terri Woods
and Shannon Holmes, to name only a few, now receiving
impressive advances and multi-book deals at major
publishing houses. At the same time that urban street
literature is market-valuable in the current literary
economy it is also de-valued by the perception among
writers, agents and editors that it is not serious
The most succinct evidence of this de-valuation may be
the difference in the referents by which, for instance,
a Woods novel is distinguished in the industry as
opposed to, say, a novel by Philip Roth. The Woods novel
is referred to by writers, agents and editors not even
as "urban street literature" but as "urban street lit."
By contrast, the Roth novel is referred to as
"literature" if it meets with standard amounts of
acclaim and criticism and as "Literature" if it
is nominated for national awards*. The novel written by
the industry-respected author is a priori
understood and referred to as serious literary work,
while the novel written by a writer in Woods' genre is
not called literature, but a partial and exoticized
version of the same, urban street lit.
The primary term, literature is abbreviated to represent
the genre's inferiority and the addition of adjectives
"urban" and "street" add an additional exoticism to the
referent. Here, too, we can see the trope of black,
urban excess present: for where this genre in question
is not completely "literature," it is also more than
"literature." It is excessive in its ancillary,
unnecessary, extravagant traits, more "urban" and more
"street" than the industry-respected novel.
Look at Shannon Holmes'
Dirty Game, published in
May of this year (2007), as an example of the former
trope: on the cover, below the graffiti style etching of
the author's name and the title of his book is a
background of a brightly lit city skyline. The office
buildings and skyscrapers stand out against a gloriously
dark night. This could be Chicago, or Los Angeles, or
any other major city in the United States. Superimposed
before the city are the disproportionately large
appendages of a black woman, her bejeweled hands run
along the length of her incredibly long legs.
A black dress barely enters the picture, but the
dominant image here is those legs, incredibly,
inordinately long, appealingly sleek and nakedly
inviting. The physicality of the black female body is
here not simply emphasized, which, perhaps, might be the
effect of any picture foregrounding a scantily clad
black woman, but is over-emphasized to the nth degree.
The woman lies before the city as impressively as
Godzilla bestrode Tokyo.
But here the suggestion is not that this human figure,
at least as large as the city itself, might conquer or
destroy the city; no, though her face and upper torso
are left out of the picture, it is evident by her
position that she is flat on her back, one leg kicked
carelessly into the air. Her dress falls away, out of
the picture. She is virtually all legs. The suggestion
is that of sexual invitation and sexual availability.
Not only that: the suggestion extends further, for it is
not only that the pose accentuates her sexuality, it is
that the frame excludes the rest of her body and,
therefore, associates her solely with her physicality.
Far from conquering the city, the black woman is here
magnified in order to over-emphasize her sexually
subordination, flat on her back.
The shining, glam jewelry on the woman's arm speaks to
the financial excesses of street culture.
Conventionally, the purchase of unnecessary, extravagant
items is seen as the right of the rich and evidence of
waste and stupidity among the middle-class and poor.
The bracelets act as a trope, but they are a trope of
excess bound in negative connotations only in the
context that they are here figured: the fact that the
woman's skin is mahogany in color, that Negro-ness is
popularly associated with poverty, as well as with
acting outrageously and spending ridiculously beyond
means* (in a country where the average savings rate
across races is negative), makes the jewelry a trope of
Popular, easily consumable
tropes of black excess that street literature accepts
and markets itself via are unproductive to accept and
problematic as a method of commercial branding. In
particular, the tropes of black female sexual
subordination and black urban chaos run counter to all
attempts at reversing negative trends and exposing bogus
stereotypes. Holmes work, now published by St. Martin's
Press, a large mainstream publisher, is extremely
market-successful; however, his work is no longer among
the most outrageous examples of the genre.
Major publishing houses have cynically shifted the vast
majority of their African-American publications to a
brand that caters to horrendous, false, pre-conceived
notions of what it is to be black in modern urban
America. The apparent fact of this misrepresentation
aside, the growth industry that is urban street lit has
simply exiled other black literature that does not fit
this narrow paradigm to the realm of lower-budget,
ever-unstable independent publishers.
Between Past and Future. New
York, NY: Viking Press, 1961. p. 204. p. 229. p. 234. p.
Bauman, Zygmunt. "Excess: An Obituary." parallax,
vol. 7, no. 1. pp. 85-91. p. 85. p.86. p. 88.
Bizzell, Patricia and Herzberg, Bruce, eds.
Rhetorical Tradition: Readings From Classical Times to
the Present. 2nd ed. Boston, Mass.: Bedford/ St.
Martin's Press. 2000. p. 82. pp. 88-138. p. 125.
Giroux, Henry A.
The Terror of Neoliberalism:
Authoritarianism and the Eclipse of Democracy. pp.
A Rage in Harlem. New York, NY:
Vintage Books U.S.A., 1989.
My Life of Absurdity. The
Autobiography of Chester Himes. New York, NY:
Doubleday & Co., 1976. pp. 238-290.
Himes, Chester. Retour En Afrique/ Cotton Comes to
Harlem. Paris, France/Chatham, NJ: Librarie Plon/
The Chatham Bookseller, 1964/ 1965 (U.S.).
The Heat's On. New York, NY:
Vintage Books U.S.A., 1988.
The Quality of Hurt, Vol. 1. New
York, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1972. p. 56.
Dirty Game. New York, NY: St.
Martin's Press Griffin. 2007. (Cover design by Michael
Storrings. Cover photograph of woman by Haitem Oueslati.
Cover photograph of cityscape by Getty Images).
Levinson, Ronald B, Ed.
A Plato Reader. Boston,
Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1967. p. xii. pp. 174-175.
Beyond Good and Evil,
trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York, NY: Random House,
Inc., 1966. p. 4.
Thong on Fire. New York, NY: Atria Books,
2007. (Cover photograph by Thinstock/ Jupiterimages).
Thug-A-Licious. New York, NY: One World/
Norris, Keenan. "Chester Himes Response Paper." 2005.
Phillips, Gary and Tervalon, Jervey, eds.
Chronicles. New York, NY: Akashic Books, 2005.
(Cover design and photograph by Keith Campbell).
American Born Chinese. NY &
London: First Second Publishers, 2006. p. 7. p. 114.
(Jacket art by Gene Luen-Yang. Jacket design by Danica
Call for Papers on Street Lit
Street Lit Subjects, Controversy, Commercial Phenomenon
By Keenan Norris, Editor
* * *
* * * *
Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays
Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a
collection of fourteen essays by scholars and
creative writers from Africa and the Americas.
Called one of two significant critical works on
Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late
1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of
Carter G. Woodson and
Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as
well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations
were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early
essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish
medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an
historical context for understanding 20th-century
creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone
writers, such as Cuban
Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist,
Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the
significance of Negritude in Latin America. This
collaborative text set the tone for later
conferences in which writers and scholars worked
together to promote, disseminate, and critique the
literature of Spanish-speaking people of African
descent. . . .
Cited by a
literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the
field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which
most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."
* * *
Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and
the Education of a President
book offering an insider's account of the
White House's response to the financial
crisis says that U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim
Geithner ignored an order from President
Barack Obama calling for reconstruction of
major banks. According to Pulitzer
Prize-winning author Ron Suskind, the
incident is just one of several in which
Obama struggled with a divided group of
advisers, some of whom he didn't initially
consider for their high-profile roles.
Suskind interviewed more than 200 people,
including Obama, Geithner and other top
officials . . . The book states Geithner and
the Treasury Department ignored a March 2009
order to consider dissolving banking giant
Citigroup while continuing stress tests on
banks, which were burdened with toxic
mortgage assets. . . .Suskind states that
Obama accepts the blame for mismanagement in
his administration while noting that
restructuring the financial system was
complicated and could have resulted in
deeper financial harm. . . .
In a February 2011 interview with Suskind, Obama
acknowledges another ongoing criticism—that
he is too focused on policy and not on
telling a larger story, one the public could
relate to. Obama is quoted as saying he was
elected in part because "he had connected
our current predicaments with the broader
arc of American history," but that such a
"narrative thread" had been lost.—Gopusa
* * * * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
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If you like this page consider making a donation
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Negro Digest /
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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posted 12 March 2008