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Through mounting evidence, Dr. Thompson asserts that black individuals

successfully assuming a white  identity represent a paradox, in that

passing for white exemplifies a challenge to the philosophy

of biological white supremacy, while denying blackness

 

 

The Tragic Black Buck: Racial Masquerading

 in the American Literary Imagination

 

By Carlyle Van Thompson

 

New Book Argues Jay Gatsby Was A Black Man

 

New York, NY-- Jay Gatsby was a Black Man passing for White? This is what  Dr. Carlyle Van Thompson is proposing, in his new book, The Tragic Black Buck: Racial Masquerading in the American Literary Imagination.

About F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic, Dr. Thompson writes, “Essentially, beyond its class and ethnic stratifications, The Great Gatsby raises critical questions about racial identity. Thus, my argument here is that, although Jay Gatsby advances himself in terms of socioeconomic subjectivity, he is more significantly characterized as a dangerous ‘pale’ individual, culturally, socially, and legally designated as black, who attempts to pass himself off as a sophisticated and very wealthy white individual. Accordingly, in this inquiry, The Great Gatsby represents a timeless narrative of racial passing."

The arguments raised in The Tragic Black Buck turn American literary classics upside down and inside out, highlighting nuances and exposing hidden meanings of black individuals “passing” for white in literary contexts. Beyond analyzing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, this book also examines Charles Waddell Chesnutt's The House Behind the Cedars, William Faulkner's Light in August, and James Weldon Johnson's The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man.

Through mounting evidence, Dr. Thompson asserts that black individuals successfully assuming a white identity represent a paradox, in that passing for white exemplifies a challenge to the philosophy of biological white supremacy, while denying blackness.

Racial passing is a phenomenon that continues to evolve within our society. Questions about what constitutes “blackness” and “whiteness” dominant pop culture while movies like Nicole Kidman’s and Anthony Hopkins’, The Human Stain, demonstrate America’s continued interest in the historical roots of passing. In writing about this topic, Dr. Thompson opens the door to new ways at looking at the confines of race.

The Tragic Black Buck will spark debate, challenge ideals, and change the way people read, all the while fostering renewed interest in classic American literature.

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Carlyle Van Thompson’s study of black maleness as forms of mask and masquerade is brilliantly driving and fresh in its exploration of novels we thought we knew well. Boldest of all is Professor Thompson’s discernment of the “black buck” standing behind the flashy white exteriors of Jay Gatsby; but every chapter here has its audacious new findings. The Tragic Black Buck will change the way we read canonical American literature as well as the current American scene, where masking and double-masking seem to define so much in our national identities. This book is a triumph.Robert G. O’Meally, Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative  Literature, Columbia University

 

The Tragic Black Buck is a worthy successor to the sort of imaginative literary reconstruction initiated in Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark. Professor Thompson shows us in lucid fashion how white and black identities are never the sole possession of black and white people. Blackness and whiteness are created out of the complex and intricate interplay between cultural, racial, and social forces that are larger than a fastidiously bi-polar paradigm suggests.Michael Eric Dyson, Avalon Foundation Professor of Humanities and African-American Studies, the University of Pennsylvania

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Carlyle Van Thompson is Associate Professor of African American and American Literature at Medgar Evers College, the City University of New York. He received his Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. Dr. Thompson is the chairperson of the Department of Languages, Literature, and Philosophy. He has published scholarly articles on the works of Toni Morrison, Ernest J. Gaines, Nella Larsen, and Charles Waddell Chesnutt. Thompson is also the editor of the AEating the Black Body: Miscegenation As Sexual Consumption in African American Literature And Culture  series published by Peter Lang.

Carlyle Van Thompson,  Ph.D., Associate Professor of English and Chairperson / Medgar Evers College, CUNY / 1650 Bedford Avenue / Brooklyn, New York 11225  718-270-4945

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Bill Moyers and James Cone (Interview)  / A Conversation with James Cone

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John Coltrane, "Alabama"  /  Kalamu ya Salaam, "Alabama"  / A Love Supreme

A Blues for the Birmingham Four  /  Eulogy for the Young Victims   / Six Dead After Church Bombing 

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
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#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Writings of Frank Marshall Davis

A Voice of the Black Press

Edited by John Edgar Tidwell

Frank Marshall Davis (1905-1987) was a central figure in the black press, working as reporter and editor for the Atlanta World, the Associated Negro Press, the Chicago Star, and the Honolulu Record. Writings of Frank Marshall Davis presents a selection of Davis's nonfiction, providing an unprecedented insight into one journalist's ability to reset the terms of public conversation and frame the news to open up debate among African Americans and all Americans.  During the middle of the twentieth century, Davis set forth a radical vision that challenged the status quo. His commentary on race relations, music, literature, and American culture was precise, impassioned, and engaged. At the height of World War II, Davis boldly questioned the nature of America's potential postwar relations and what they meant for African Americans and the nation. His work challenged the usefulness of race as a social construct, and he eventually disavowed the idea of race altogether. Throughout his career, he championed the struggles of African Americans for equal rights and laboring people seeking fair wages and other benefits.

In his reviews on music, he argued that blues and jazz were responses to social conditions and served as weapons of racial integration. His book reviews complemented his radical vision by commenting on how literature reshapes one's understanding of the world. Even his travel writings on Hawaii called for cultural pluralism and tolerance for racial and economic difference. Writings of Frank Marshall Davis reveals a writer in touch with the most salient issues defining his era and his desire to insert them into the public sphere. John Edgar Tidwell provides an introduction and contextual notes on each major subject area Davis explored.

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.

"Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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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 Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 18 February 2012

 

 

 

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Related files:  The Tragic Black Buck -- Racial Masquerading    Carlyle Van Thompson Interview