MY PEOPLE IS THE ENEMY by William Stringfellow


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Stringfellow, a young Harlem lawyer, is also a WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant). Seven years ago, upon graduating from Harvard Law School, he came to Harlem to practice law, mix in politics and work for God, Christ and the Episcopal Church. He moved into an apartment on 100th Street on what the Times called the ""worst"" single block in the city. His description of incredibly vermin-infested, rundown apartments is the naturalistic high point of the book which, otherwise, keeps itself closer to analysis than illustration. The reader who wishes vicariously to experience utter poverty and degradation, the day-to-day life of Harlem Negroes, will be disappointed. Nor is this but incidentally about the court activities of a Harlem lawyer. String-fellow's central thesis is that racism is a groveling after death and that standing up for life is the only alternative. One gains this stance by first becoming reconciled to himself (Negro or white), enough so that one can love oneself, then becoming reconciled to Christ, and thus finding freedom in the Golden Rule. He has scant love for Mayor Wagner (city administration), takes the Protestant churches to task for not backing the Negro revolution and for not making Negroes welcome, and he knocks Negro anti-Semitism (which emulates white Protestant and Catholic prejudice). Stringfellow is penetrating but not stinging.

Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston