18 Books Published by University Press of Mississippi on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about The Paintings and Drawings of Clarence Major by Clarence Major The Paintings and Drawings of Clarence Major

by Clarence Major
University Press of Mississippi (Feb 15, 2019)
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In the first volume to collect the paintings and drawings of Clarence Major, readers are offered six decades of unique, colorful, and compelling canvases and works on paper—works of singular beauty and social relevance. These works represent Major’s personal painterly journey of passionate commitment to art.

This generous selection of more than 150 paintings and drawings shows us the melding of rich ideas and fertile images, the braiding of imagination and motif. With their pleasing arrangement of elements, the works come vividly to life. Major often juxtaposes a decorative scheme with his own unique choice of color combinations, reinforced with rigorous brushstrokes that release chromatic energy. The paintings complement and challenge the great traditions of Realism, Impressionism, and Expressionism.

Major is primarily a figurative and landscape painter. Here we find landscapes of singular vitality, rich in color and design, dramatic landscapes, and cityscapes representing, among other things, Major’s extensive travels in America and Europe. We are also treated to Major’s signature figurative work. In these paintings, he ventures fearlessly into familiar yet unexpected areas of richness.

Also included is an introductory essay, "The Education of a Painter," written by the artist, which further sheds light on and helps to lay a biographical, social, and historical foundation for this essential volume, reflecting a lifetime of serious commitment to painting at its best.


Click for more detail about City Son: Andrew W. Cooper’s Impact On Modern-Day Brooklyn by Wayne Dawkins City Son: Andrew W. Cooper’s Impact On Modern-Day Brooklyn

by Wayne Dawkins
University Press of Mississippi (Jul 02, 2012)
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In 1966, a year after the Voting Rights Act began liberating millions of southern blacks, New Yorkers challenged a political system that weakened their voting power. Andrew W. Cooper (1927-2002), a beer company employee, sued state officials in a case called Cooper vs. Power. In 1968, the courts agreed that black citizens were denied the right to elect an authentic representative of their community. The 12th Congressional District was redrawn. Shirley Chisholm, a member of Cooper’s political club, ran for the new seat and made history as the first black woman elected to Congress.Cooper became a journalist, a political columnist, then founder of Trans Urban News Service and the City Sun, a feisty Brooklyn-based weekly that published from 1984 to 1996. Whether the stories were about Mayor Koch or Rev. Al Sharpton, Howard Beach or Crown Heights, Tawana Brawley’s dubious rape allegations, the Daily News Four trial, or Spike Lee’s filmmaking career, Cooper’s City Sun commanded attention and moved officials and readers to action.Cooper’s leadership also gave Brooklyn—particularly predominantly black central Brooklyn—an identity. It is no accident that in the twenty-first century the borough crackles with energy. Cooper fought tirelessly for the community’s vitality when it was virtually abandoned by the civic and business establishments in the mid-to-late twentieth century. In addition, scores of journalists trained by Cooper are keeping his spirit alive.

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Click for more detail about Conversations with Toni Cade Bambara (Literary Conversations Series) by Toni Cade Bambara Conversations with Toni Cade Bambara (Literary Conversations Series)

by Toni Cade Bambara
University Press of Mississippi (Feb 02, 2012)
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Conversations with Toni Cade Bambara reveals an artist and activist whose work deftly negotiates boundaries of feminism, nationalism, and film. The intimacy of these collaborations or conversations between Bambara (1939-1995) and her interviewers provide an excellent and necessary resource for those interested in scholarly approaches to her fiction, especially her novels The Salt Eaters (1980) and the posthumously published Those Bones Are Not My Child (1999), and her acclaimed short story collection Gorilla, My Love. The collection reveals the passion, humor, and real-life experiences of the woman whoBthrough her editing of the groundbreaking anthology of black women=s writing The Black Woman (1970) and contributions to the documentary W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four VoicesBchanged perceptions of African American culture in the modern era. The interviews present a woman that saw herself as "a teacher who writes, a social worker who writes, a youth worker who writes, a mother who writes." Bambara viewed herself as a cultural worker for oppressed people whose job as an artist was making, in her words, "revolution irresistible." Indeed, her fiction champions the working class and "average folk," both of whom she felt were made invisible by mainstream American society. The volume also displays Bambara=s passionate criticism of radicalism and revolutionary philosophies that were structured by patriarchal, sexist, and heterosexual-centric paradigms. Her willingness to challenge her own ideals, as well as those that conflicted with them, marks her as one of the most forceful black writers of her era.


Click for more detail about Conversations With Yusef Komunyakaa (Literary Conversations Series) by Shirley A. James Hanshaw Conversations With Yusef Komunyakaa (Literary Conversations Series)

by Shirley A. James Hanshaw
University Press of Mississippi (Apr 22, 2010)
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Conversations with Yusef Komunyakaa brings together over two decades of interviews and profiles with one of America’s most prolific and acclaimed contemporary poets. Yusef Komunyakaa (b. 1947) describes his work alternately as "word paintings" and as "music," and his affinity with the visual and aural arts is amply displayed in these conversations. The volume also addresses the diversity and magnitude of Komunyakaa’s literary output. His collaborations with artists in a variety of genres, including music, dance, drama, opera, and painting have produced groundbreaking performance pieces. Throughout the collection, Komunyakaa’s interest in finding and creating poetry across the artistic spectrum is made manifest.For his collection Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems, 1977-1989, Komunyakaa became the first African American male to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Through his work he provides keen insight into life’s mysteries from seemingly inconsequential and insignificant life forms ("Ode to the Maggot") to some of the most compelling historical and life-altering events of our time, such as the Vietnam War ("Facing It"). Influenced strongly by jazz, blues, and folklore, as well as the classical poetic tradition, his poetry comprises a riveting chronicle of the African American experience.


Click for more detail about Conversations With Octavia Butler by Conseula Francis Conversations With Octavia Butler

by Conseula Francis
University Press of Mississippi (Mar 15, 2010)
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Octavia Butler (1947-2006) spent the majority of her prolific career as the only major black female author of science fiction. Winner of both the Nebula and Hugo Awards as well as a MacArthur "genius" grant, the first for a science fiction writer, Butler created worlds that challenged notions of race, sex, gender, and humanity. Whether in the postapocalyptic future of the Parable stories, in the human inability to assimilate change and difference in the Xenogenesis books, or in the destructive sense of superiority in the Patternist series, Butler held up a mirror, reflecting what is beautiful, corrupt, worthwhile, and damning about the world we inhabit. In interviews ranging from 1980 until just before her sudden death in 2006, Conversations with Octavia Butler reveals a writer very much aware of herself as the "rare bird" of science fiction even as she shows frustration with the constant question,"How does it feel to be the only one?" Whether discussing humanity’s biological imperatives or the difference between science fiction and fantasy or the plight of the working poor in America, Butler emerges in these interviews as funny, intelligent, complicated, and intensely original.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Shaping Memories: Reflections of African American Women Writers by Joanne V. Gabbin Shaping Memories: Reflections of African American Women Writers

by Joanne V. Gabbin
University Press of Mississippi (Aug 11, 2009)
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Shaping Memories offers short essays by notable black women writers on pivotal moments that strongly influenced their careers. With contributions from such figures as novelist Paule Marshall, folklorist Daryl Cumber Dance, poets Mari Evans and Camille Dungy, essayist Ethel Morgan Smith, and scholar Maryemma Graham, the anthology provides a thorough overview of the formal concerns and thematic issues facing contemporary black women writers.Editor Joanne Veal Gabbin offers an introduction that places these writers in the context of American literature in general and African American literature in particular. Each essay includes a headnote summarizing the writer’s career and aesthetic development. In their pieces these women negotiate educational institutions and societal restrictions and find their voices despite racism, sexism, and religious chauvinism. They offer strong testimony to the power of words to heal, transform, and renew.


Toni Morrison: Conversations (Literary Conversations Series)

by Carolyn C. Denard
University Press of Mississippi (Jun 01, 2008)
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As a chronicler of the African American experience in fiction and as an incisive cultural commentator in her essays and lectures, Toni Morrison (b. 1931) is regarded as one of the nation’s most distinguished novelists and intellectuals. Her novels are richly layered narratives that explore the meanings of tragedy and myth in individual lives. Morrison’s perspectives on American life and culture, rendered with a deep understanding of the consequences of history and the power of art, are always compelling. Toni Morrison: Conversations includes interviews with the Nobel Laureate that bring into the foreground Morrison’s comments on American literature and society, the academy, and her own work. She discusses growing up in Lorain, Ohio, her role as editor at Random House, the continuing evolution of her style, her teaching philosophy, and her most recent novels Jazz, Paradise, and Love. This volume includes interviews and profiles from the 1970s and 1980s that were not collected in Conversations with Toni Morrison (1993) and a rich collection of new interviews published together for the first time, including conversations with Paula Giddings, Salman Rushdie, Charlie Rose, and Elissa Schappell. Carolyn C. Denard is the author of scholarly essays on Toni Morrison and the forthcoming Cambridge Introduction to Toni Morrison. She is Associate Dean of the College at Brown University and founder of the Toni Morrison Society.


Click for more detail about What Moves At The Margin: Selected Nonfiction by Toni Morrison What Moves At The Margin: Selected Nonfiction

by Toni Morrison
University Press of Mississippi (Apr 01, 2008)
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What Moves at the Margin collects three decades of Toni Morrison’s writings about her work, her life, literature, and American society. The works included in this volume range from 1971, when Morrison (b. 1931) was a new editor at Random House and a beginning novelist, to 2002 when she was a professor at Princeton University and Nobel Laureate. Even in the early days of her career, in between editing other writers, writing her own novels, and raising two children, she found time to speak out on subjects that mattered to her. From the reviews and essays written for major publications to her moving tributes to other writers to the commanding acceptance speeches for major literary awards, Morrison has consistently engaged as a writer outside the margins of her fiction. These works provide a unique glimpse into Morrison’s viewpoint as an observer of the world, the arts, and the changing landscape of American culture. The first section of the book, "Family and History," includes Morrison’s writings about her family, Black women, Black history, and her own works. The second section, "Writers and Writing," offers her assessments of writers she admires and books she reviewed, edited at Random House, or gave a special affirmation to with a foreword or an introduction. The final section, "Politics and Society," includes essays and speeches where Morrison addresses issues in American society and the role of language and literature in the national culture. Among other pieces, this collection includes a reflection on 9/11, reviews of such seminal books by Black writers as Albert Murray’s South to a Very Old Place and Gayl Jones’s Corregidora, an essay on teaching moral values in the university, a eulogy for James Baldwin, and Morrison’s Nobel lecture. Taken together, What Moves at the Margin documents the response to our time by one of American literature’s most thoughtful and eloquent writers. Toni Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor Emerita at the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at Princeton University and is the author of Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, Paradise, and other novels. She has received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. Carolyn C. Denard is the author of scholarly essays on Toni Morrison and the forthcoming Cambridge Introduction to Toni Morrison. She is Associate Dean of the College at Brown University and founder of the Toni Morrison Society.


Click for more detail about Conversations with Leon Forrest (Literary Conversations) by Leon Forrest Conversations with Leon Forrest (Literary Conversations)

by Leon Forrest
University Press of Mississippi (Aug 07, 2007)
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Leon Forrest (1937-1997) was among the most innovative and ambitious African American fiction writers of the twentieth century. His books-which include novels There Is a Tree More Ancient than Eden, Divine Days, The Bloodworth Orphans, and Two Wings to Veil My Face, and the posthumously published novella Meteor in the Madhouse-fused classical mythology, realism, and African American history and culture. Largely set in his native Chicago, Forrest’s novels comprise an oeuvre of powerful urban modernism. Conversations with Leon Forrest collects interviews ranging from 1975 to 1997. Forrest discusses his literary influences (William Faulkner, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Thomas Hardy, Dylan Thomas), the significance of both Catholicism and Baptist impulses in his writing, and the intersection between politics and aesthetics in black literature and culture. Music-jazz, folk, blues, and gospel-also played an im-portant role in developing Forrest’s aesthetic. Throughout the collection, Forrest’s wit, erudition, and candor are evident. His moral concerns, disciplined work ethic, and stylis-tic invention are explored. Conversations with Leon Forrest is a valuable introduction to a writer who was recognized as a literary genius by Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison. Dana A. Williams is associate professor of African American literature at Howard University. She is the author of "In the Light of Likeness-Transformed": The Literary Art of Leon Forrest and, with Sandra Shannon, the editor of August Wilson and Black Aesthetics.


Click for more detail about Civil Rights Childhood by Jordana Y. Shakoor Civil Rights Childhood

by Jordana Y. Shakoor
University Press of Mississippi (Jan 01, 2006)
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Two voices blend in this poignant memoir from the Civil Rights era in Mississippi—a father’s and a daughter’s. He was Andrew L. Jordan, a son in a dirt-poor family of sharecroppers near Greenwood. Jordana Shakoor is his little girl who grew up to write this book. In her southern childhood she is just becoming aware of her people’s dreadful predicament of loving their homeland but of hating its mistreatment of blacks. Like virtually all other southern black families, the Jordans endured humiliation and fear of white reprisals.The child states that her father rejected the ugly Jim Crow tradition and aimed at achieving an improbable dream in black Mississippi—to become a schoolteacher. First, he served as a "colored soldier" in the armed forces. Then he returned home to marry in 1955, an especially ominous year in the calendar of black southerners (the heinous murder of the black northern teenager Emmett Till occurred then). Jordan got his education with aid from the GI Bill and realized his dream of teaching. But it wasn’t enough. Beginning to live according to his conscience, he joined his life to the Civil Rights Movement. At first he moved behind the scenes and then worked openly in mass meetings and voter registrations. For his activism he lost his job and, unemployable at home, he was driven from Mississippi.In Ohio his family merged into the American middle class. When the daughter was twelve, Jordan let her read his fascinating memoir. It made her proud. When she was thirty-five, her father died. By the time she was forty she had begun to intertwine their two stories and their two voices. In a loving reminiscence of her childhood and family influences in Mississippi during a time of danger and strife Civil Rights Childhood unites their two lives and their histories.The voices in this book tell a story whose theme is familiar to legions of African Americans. Yet its particular voices, until now, have gone unheard. Though this is told by a child born in the segregated South, it also is the story of her family’s triumph over a dark heritage, a story of a Civil Rights childhood that casts away a centuries-old tradition of insult and denial to embrace instead a Civil Rights heritage of freedom and love.


Click for more detail about African American Writers: Portraits and Visions by Lynda Koolish African American Writers: Portraits and Visions

by Lynda Koolish
University Press of Mississippi (Oct 25, 2001)
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Ai   Will Alexander   Robert Allen   Maya Angelou   Amiri Baraka   Paul Beatty   David Bradley   Gwendolyn Brooks   Ed Bullins   Barbara Christian   Cheryl Clarke   Lucille Clifton   Wanda Coleman   Edwidge Danticat   Angela Davis   Toi Derricotte   Samuel R. Delany   Rita Dove   Frances Smith Foster   Ernest Gaines   Henry Louis Gates, Jr.   Nikki Giovanni   Jewelle Gomez   Rosa Guy   Forrest Hamer   Michael S. Harper   Essex Hemphill   Charles Johnson   June Jordan   Jamaica Kincaid   Yusef Komunyakaa   Audre Lorde   Nathaniel Mackey   Haki Madhubuti   Clarence Major   Paule Marshall   Colleen McElroy   Toni Morrison   Walter Mosley   Harryette Mullen   Albert Murray   Gloria Naylor   Barbara Neely   Pat Parker   Ishmael Reed   Faith Ringgold   Kalamu ya Salaam   Sonia Sanchez   Sapphire   Ntozake Shange   Quincy Troupe   Derek Walcott   Alice Walker   Afaa Michael Weaver   John Edgar Wideman   John A. Williams   Sherley Anne Williams   August Wilson   Al Young


Author and Photographer Lynda Koolish discusses the writers in her book with John A Williams, author and subject, Troy Johnson, founder AALBC.com, and Wilfred Samuels, professor, University of Utah, at the exhibition opening and book celebration for African American Writers Portraits and Visions, held at the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture

Over a period of thirty years Lynda Koolish has been photographing African American authors in their homes, at public readings, in universities, and at conferences and festivals.

As this volume of her photographs presents the faces of acclaimed African American writers, it also highlights the diversity within African American literature and celebrates the many genres it explores. Koolish includes authors of diverse identities--Caribbean writers who have immigrated to the United States, writers of mixed heritage, writers who proudly proclaim their African roots, playwrights, poets, novelists, critics, scholars, short story writers, oral storytellers, and memoirists.

Koolish's photographs convey a sense of clarity, warmth, and beauty. Along with each portrait she provides a short biographical essay that comprises the artistic vision of the author. Her superb gallery of fifty-nine black-and-white photographs presents a grand assembly.

"We know these authors," Cynthia Tucker says. "We know their words. We can quote favorite passages from their essays, their poems, their novels. Yet we have rarely seen their faces. We have rarely seen them reading their works, talking to audiences, explaining their views. We know some important part of them but cannot attach to it a pair of eyes, a furrowed brow, a head full of dreadlocks. Now we can look at the eyes that see so much, that transform our understanding of the world. And we can look for, even if we cannot hope to find, the source of their genius."

This is the first book devoted exclusively to photographic portraits of African American writers since Carl Van Vechten's work featuring Harlem Renaissance writers in the 1920s and 1930s.

Lynda Koolish, a scholar of African American literature, is an associate professor of English and comparative literature at San Diego State University. She is well known also as a professional photographer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Belles Lettres, Poetry Flash, and Modern Fiction Studies. Her photography has been featured in many exhibitions, including the 1994 juried show at the Cork Gallery in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and in Celebrating Women Writers, a calendar published by the New York Public Library in 1999. Cynthia Tucker is a syndicated columnist at the Atlanta Constitution and a regularly featured commentator on PBS's The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.


Conversations With Albert Murray (Literary Conversations Series)

by Roberta S. Maguire
University Press of Mississippi (Nov 01, 1997)
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As a cultural critic, biographer, essayist, and novelist, Albert Murray has had a wide-ranging and profound influence on American art in the decades since the Second World War. Artists as diverse as Walker Percy, Romare Bearden, and Wynton Marsalis have drawn from Murray and his ideas on jazz and the blues, modern consciousness, and the role of race in the American identity. His own works include The Hero and the Blues, Train Whistle Guitar, Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography of Count Basie as Told to Albert Murray, The Spyglass Tree, The Blue Devils of Nada, and The Seven League Boots. Yet this is the first book devoted to Murray himself, and fittingly it is based on the kind of conversations that have proven indispensable to his friends in the arts. It brings together twenty interviews with Murray conducted over the last twenty-four years, beginning with an interview that took place shortly after his second book, South to a Very Old Place, was published, and ending with a previously unpublished interview with the editor. In these conversations Murray discusses those who influenced him - Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington - and tells how they helped him develop a philosophy of art based on the blues as well as a new archetype of the American hero, the blues hero. The collection reveals a man who enjoys a good time and a good conversation and whose intellectual improvisations move over such subjects as his reminiscences about the South he grew up in, his insights about regional culture, and commentaries about the contemporary American scene. He is quick to laugh, to conspire, to correct misperceptions, to mimic the sounds a great jazz musician makes, or to recite lines from favorite poems or novels. Taken together, these interviews reveal Murray to be the composite American he describes in his first book, The Omni-Americans, which, when published in 1970, announced a new and important literary voice. Roberta S. Maguire is an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.


Click for more detail about Conversations with Ernest Gaines (Literary Conversations) by Ernest Gaines Conversations with Ernest Gaines (Literary Conversations)

by Ernest Gaines
University Press of Mississippi (Jun 01, 1995)
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Collections of interviews with notable modern writers


Click for more detail about The Color Curtain by Richard Wright The Color Curtain

by Richard Wright
University Press of Mississippi (Jan 01, 1995)
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This indispensable work urging removal of the color barrier remains one of the key commentaries on the question of race in the modern era.

First published in 1956, it arose from Richard Wright’s participation in a global conference held in Bandung, Indonesia, in April 1955.

With this report of what happened at Bandung, Wright exhorts Western nations, largely responsible for the poverty and ignorance in their former colonies, to destroy racial impediments and to work with the leadership of the new nations in moving toward modernization and industrialization under a free democratic system rather than under Communist totalitarianism.

CONTENTS: Foreword by Gunnar Myrdal • Bandung: Beyond Left and Right • Race and Religion at Bandung • Communism at Bundung • Racial Shame at Bundung • The Western World at Bandung • Afterword by Amritjit Singh


Click for more detail about Savage Holiday by Richard Wright Savage Holiday

by Richard Wright
University Press of Mississippi (Jan 01, 1995)
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Erskine Fowler, an insurance executive forced by corporate intrigue into the long holiday of retirement, becomes enmeshed in a weekend of bizarre and bloody circumstances that reveal his troubled psyche and desperation. Naked and accidentally locked out of his apartment, he inadvertently causes a boy to fall to his death. Driven by guilt and by a compulsion to conceal his involvement, Fowler befriends the boy’s mother. Yet his self-destructive rages to redeem himself lead to mayhem. This is Richard Wright’s only published work with no black characters. He was unsure about how his readers would react to this bravely experimental novel. Shying away from the racial problem he depicted in his other works, he writes here a riveting study in psychological fiction. It deserves to be regarded anew as work from a master.


Click for more detail about Conversations With Toni Morrison (Literary Conversations) by Danille K. Taylor-Guthrie Conversations With Toni Morrison (Literary Conversations)

by Danille K. Taylor-Guthrie
University Press of Mississippi (Apr 01, 1994)
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This is a collection of interviews, beginning in 1974, with Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Morrison describes herself as an African-American writer, and these essays show her to be an artist whose creativity is intimately linked with her African-American experience.


Click for more detail about Conversations with Richard Wright (Literary Conversations) by Richard Wright Conversations with Richard Wright (Literary Conversations)

by Richard Wright
University Press of Mississippi (Oct 01, 1993)
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For more than two decades Richard Wright was interviewed by the American and foreign press, first as the author of Uncle Tom’s Children (1938), Native Son (1940), and Black Boy (1945), next as a famous expatriate recently arrived and lionized in postwar Paris, and finally as the seasoned writer of a dozen books. At the end of his life the young man from Mississippi had become a well-traveled intellectual deeply interested in the social and political as well as literary and racial issues of the Old, the New, and the Third World.Conversations with Richard Wright collects some fifty interviews, many of which are little known in the United States because they appeared in non-English European periodicals and newspapers. This collection reveals a serious, often didactic Wright, giving voice to his inarticulate brothers and sisters as he reveals his racially representative colonialism. Most of his interviewers were white men, and he was always trying to make them listen. European issues also claimed his attention as he struggled to reconcile Marxism, Freudianism, and existentialism to the political realities from 1945 to his death in 1960.


Click for more detail about Plan B by Chester Himes Plan B

by Chester Himes
University Press of Mississippi (Jan 01, 1993)
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Tomsson Black, political visionary, business genius, and underground revolutionary, plots to avenge injustice by instigating racial turmoil. The roots of racism extend far back into his ancestry, and persecution and suffering have affected many generations of his family. Tomsson’s own misfortunes are the impetus for him to found a criminal underworld whose ultimate purpose is the overflow of white society. This novel, the history of Tomsson Black and an indictment of racism in America, ends in apocalypse. It is Chester Himes’s ultimate statement about the destructive power of racism and his own personal fantasy of how the American Negro, through calculated acts of violence and martyrdom, could destroy the unequal system pervading American life. However, after reaching an ideological impasse, Himes, one of the angriest writers in the black protest movement, left this novel unfinished. After his death in Spain in 1984, a rumor persisted that he had left a final, unfinished Harlem story, in which he literally destroys both his Harlem backdrop and his heroes in a violent racial cataclysm. The manuscript, entitled Plan B, is that novel. It was edited and published in France, where it was widely hailed as an unfinished masterpiece by readers and critics alike. This new edition, appearing for the first time in the United States, includes an introduction by Michel Fabre (The Sorbonne) and Robert E. Skinner (Xavier University), who have prepared Plan B for publication.