THE NEW WORLD OF NEGRO AMERICANS by Harold R. Isaacs

THE NEW WORLD OF NEGRO AMERICANS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Harold Isaacs, the noted MIT research associate, offers here a consistently readable, comprehensive, socially committed, always sophisticated close-up of a complex contemporary experience, that of the American Negro. He shows how the end of white supremacy, both as a Western ideology and an economic royalty, and the consequent emergence of an autonomous Africa, is reshaping the Negor's socio-psychological encounter with himself and with others vis a vis the unresolved problems of racism and democracy, the twin interactions of alienation and assimilation, and the whole boatload of mythologies, those of the past, those of the present, which a cultural prejudice has engendered. The examination embraces the puzzle of identity, the degrees of color-consciousness, the history of the ""Back to Africa"" movement, civil rights protestations, and the dice-loaded morality of white vs. black/ good vs. bad. There are many cross-section interviews, ranging from the famous (Robinson, Bunche, Baldwin, Ellison) to participants in a West African student work-camp program. The questions are sharp, the answers striking. Best come from the caustic, sometimes myopic critiques of quasi-expatriates: the late Richard Wright, and the legendary W.E.B. DuBois, a recent renegade to the Marxist Left. They symbolize, in an era of white man indifference, how the sensitive and talented are sometimes driven to an almost paranoid score-settling. An unblinkingly enterprising work.

Pub Date: May 13th, 1963
Publisher: John Day