BLACK DEFIANCE by Jay -- Ed. David


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A smallish collection of first and second-person testimonials to the personal courage of individual black Americans, beginning with a Methodist obliged to found a black church in the late 18th century, the harassments suffered by a freedman, anecdotes about Sojourner Truth, and extending to the black Communist Benjamin Davis, James Meredith, Medgar Evers, Cleaver on Huey Newton, and a Watts writer's moving recollections of his family. The editor provides fatuous commentary on ""the gun"" as the common instrument of Harriet Tubman, Robert Williams, and the Panthers, while smiling alike on A. Philip Randolph and the N.A.A.C.P. Those whose achievement consisted chiefly of survival, like the lone black high school student in a Southern school, and those who call themselves revolutionary, are lumped together as ""defying white society."" The biographical emphasis is certainly valuable but this is a pretty skimpy sampling, and the utter neglect of programmatic, organizational efforts from DuBois and Garvey to Malcolm X makes this a marginal, inadequate representation of ""the record of black defiance."" As we said above, the tireless Mr. Jay has edited or co-edited innumerable anthologies predominantly on ethnic and racial subjects and this is more of the same.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1972
Publisher: Morrow