BLACK LIFE AND CULTURE IN THE UNITED STATES by Rhoda L. -- Ed. Goldstein

BLACK LIFE AND CULTURE IN THE UNITED STATES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A comprehensive, interdisciplinary anthology of Black Studies -- what it is and what it ought to be. Miss Goldstein achieves an uneven blend of local, national and international perspectives with articles ranging from ""African Linguistic and Mythological Structures in the New World"" by a Guyanan poet and scholar of Swahili to a faculty member's consideration of ""Desegregation at Rutgers University"" from 1963 to the present. Contributors include a few prominent names: Aptheker on ""Afro-American Superiority -- A Neglected Theme in Literature,"" Abernathy on the role of Martin Luther King, and James Denmark un Afro-American art. For the most part, however, Miss Goldstein has mined the experiences, opinions and research of students, faculty members and community activists in the Rutgers area as a sociological microcosm of how Black Studies programs have been implemented and what they are achieving in universities across the country. Recurrent themes include integration vs. separatism (most contributors see integration as a middle-class goal) and the more recent, equally healed debate between 'cultural nationalism' -- e.g., Le Roi Jones, Ron Karenga, Harold Cruse -- and 'revolutionary nationalism' as exemplified by Cleaver, H. Rap Brown and the Panthers; what this boils down to is an acrimonious argument over the primacy of race vs. class. The strident call of a blacker-than-thou student for an of-by-and-for black ""alternative system of education"" is balanced by a community organizer's bald declaration thai ""to see the question of color as being over and above the fundamental question of oppression is to have something wrong with one's head."" Despite a myriad of highly arguable conclusions (e.g., the civil rights movement is characterized as ""primarily a thrust of the elite sections of lite black community"") and some perfunctory rehashes of the historiography of slavery and the plantation system, this volume does have the candid, open-ended eclecticism of a stimulating colloquium. It should be, at least, a valuable leaching tool.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1971
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell