on schuyler

Feeling the need to nod a bit to Black History Month, perhaps regrettably in the manner it’s mis-honored in some American high schools (my memory is of my Freshman history teacher thinking — quick!  It’s the 27th, and … er… how about this movie about Black soldiers in the Civil War?) …

… But more especially wanting to get off the beaten path a little bit, I read George Schuyler’s 1930s farce Black No More.
Schuyler, an interesting figure — a contrarian who started as a Socialist, didn’t much like any of his Socialist organizations, and at some point just ran to support of Nixon and the John Birch Society — though, reading two different introductions in two different editions of the book, with the one who is more sympathetic toward his contrarian politics figuring to the line that Nixon was to the left of Clinton.  This will tend to shuffle the book away from your book stores’ array of black America’s literature.

The satires on WEB Du Bois, Booker Washington, and Marcus Garvey are the opposite of subtle.  (So Booker Washington is the president of “ the Dusky River Agricultural Institute, Supreme General of the Knights and Daughters of Kingdom Come and president of the Uncle Tom Memorial Association“.  (And I suppose ultimately Garvey was a charlatan, if an interesting figure.)   It’s the HL Mencken school of mockery.


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