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Blackballed

by Darryl Pinckney

Blackballed is Darryl Pinckney's meditation on a century and a half of participation by blacks in US electoral politics. In this combination of memoir, historical narrative, and contemporary political and social analysis, he investigates the struggle for black voting rights from Reconstruction through the civil rights movement to Barack Obama's two presidential campaigns. Drawing on the work of scholars, the memoirs of civil rights workers, and the speeches and writings of black leaders like Martin Luther King and Stokely Carmichael, Andrew Young and John Lewis, Pinckney traces the disagreements among blacks about the best strategies for achieving equality in American society as well as the ways in which they gradually came to create the Democratic voting bloc that contributed to the election of the first black president. Interspersed through the narrative are Pinckney's own memories of growing up during the civil rights era and the reactions of his parents to the changes taking place in American society. He concludes with an examination of ongoing efforts by Republicans to suppress the black vote, with particular attention to the Supreme Court's recent decision striking down part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Also included here is Pinckney's essay "What Black Means Now," on the history of the black middle class, stereotypes about blacks and crime, and contemporary debates about "post-blackness."

Blood on the Forge

by Darryl Pinckney William Attaway

This brutally gripping novel about the African-American Great Migration follows the three Moss brothers, who flee the rural South to work in industries up North. Delivered by day into the searing inferno of the steel mills, by night they encounter a world of surreal devastation, crowded with dogfighters, whores, cripples, strikers, and scabs. Keenly sensitive to character, prophetic in its depiction of environmental degradation and globalized labor, Attaway's novel is an unprecedented confrontation with the realities of American life, offering an apocalyptic vision of the melting pot not as an icon of hope but as an instrument of destruction. Blood on the Forge was first published in 1941, when it attracted the admiring attention of Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison. It is an indispensable account of a major turning point in black history, as well as a triumph of individual style, charged with the concentrated power and poignance of the blues.

The New York Stories of Elizabeth Hardwick

by Elizabeth Hardwick Darryl Pinckney

Elizabeth Hardwick was one of America's great postwar women of letters, celebrated as a novelist and as an essayist. Until now, however, her slim but remarkable achievement as a writer of short stories has remained largely hidden, with her work tucked away in the pages of the periodicals--such as Partisan Review, The New Yorker, and The New York Review of Books--in which it originally appeared. This first collection of Hardwick's short fiction reveals her brilliance as a stylist and as an observer of contemporary life. A young woman returns from New York to her childhood Kentucky home and discovers the world of difference within her. A girl's boyfriend is not quite good enough, his "silvery eyes, light and cool, revealing nothing except pure possibility, like a coin in hand." A magazine editor's life falls strangely to pieces after she loses both her husband and her job. Individual lives and the life of New York, the setting or backdrop for most of these stories, are strikingly and memorably depicted in Hardwick's beautiful and razor-sharp prose.

Out There

by Darryl Pinckney

With this appreciation of three very different black writers, novelist Darryl Pinckney reminds us that marginal or neglected literary figures have a lot to tell us about the history of a people who are always "outsiders." Born in Jamaica in 1883, J. A. Rogers was an early member of the Harlem Renaissance--a newspaper columnist, historian of Negro achievement, polemicist against white supremacy, and amateur sociologist of interracial sex as evidenced in his massive three-volume work Sex and Race. Vincent O. Carter, who came of age in 1920's Kansas City, wrote The Bern Book, an exploration of being black in a Swiss rather than an American setting. Caryl Phillips, a son of the generation of black Caribbeans who returned to Great Britain after the Second World War, has explored the psychology of migration in fiction and nonfiction that include The Final Passage, Higher Ground, and The Nature of Blood. Pinckney's essays on these writers, drawn from his Alain Locke Lectures at Harvard University, give us a rich understanding of what it has meant to be "children of the diaspora" over the past century.

Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature

by Darryl Pinckney

With this appreciation of three very different black writers, novelist Darryl Pinckney reminds us that marginal or neglected literary figures have a lot to tell us about the history of a people who are always "outsiders. " Born in Jamaica in 1883, J. A. Rogers was an early member of the Harlem Renaissance--a newspaper columnist, historian of Negro achievement, polemicist against white supremacy, and amateur sociologist of interracial sex as evidenced in his massive three-volume work Sex and Race. Vincent O. Carter, who came of age in 1920's Kansas City, wrote The Bern Book, an exploration of being black in a Swiss rather than an American setting. Caryl Phillips, a son of the generation of black Caribbeans who returned to Great Britain after the Second World War, has explored the psychology of migration in fiction and nonfiction that include The Final Passage, Higher Ground, and The Nature of Blood. Pinckney's essays on these writers, drawn from his Alain Locke Lectures at Harvard University, give us a rich understanding of what it has meant to be "children of the diaspora" over the past century.

Uncle Tom's Cabin: Or, Life Among the Lowly

by Harriet Beecher Stowe Darryl Pinckney

Uncle Tom, Topsy, Sambo, Simon Legree, little Eva: their names are American bywords, and all of them are characters in Harriet Beecher Stowe's remarkable novel of the pre-Civil War South. Uncle Tom's Cabin was revolutionary in 1852 for its passionate indictment of slavery and for its presentation of Tom, "a man of humanity," as the first black hero in American fiction. Labeled racist and condescending by some contemporary critics, it remains a shocking, controversial, and powerful work -- exposing the attitudes of white nineteenth-century society toward "the peculiar institution" and documenting, in heartrending detail, the tragic breakup of black Kentucky families "sold down the river." An immediate international sensation, Uncle Tom's Cabin sold 300,000 copies in the first year, was translated into thirty-seven languages, and has never gone out of print: its political impact was immense, its emotional influence immeasurable.

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