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Afrolantica Legacies Hardcover – September 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Third World Press; 1st edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0883781999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883781999
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,393,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Derrick Bell is perhaps best known for the principled stand he took at Harvard in 1990 when he quit his tenured position on the law-school faculty to protest the school's failure to grant tenure to a black woman. Now a visiting professor at New York Law School, Bell is still deeply interested in issues of race relations and has chosen to explore the subject fictionally in Afrolantica Legacies. In a nutshell, the story goes like this: a mysterious land mass suddenly appears in the Atlantic Ocean, a fabulous island on which only black people can survive. American blacks set sail to the island to begin a new life, only to see it sink again before they can reach the shore. On the return trip to America, the passengers draw up a list of principles called the Afrolantica Legacies, defining how they want to reposition themselves in American society.

The stories Bell tells to illustrate his points are narrated by Geneva Crenshaw, a character he has used in earlier fiction. Racism, government conspiracies against blacks, and Jewish-black relations are the subjects here, and heroes of African American history such as Marcus Garvey, Thurgood Marshall, and Nat Turner all make appearances. Depending on which side of the black/white divide you happen to stand, Bell's take on race relations in America will either seem right on the money or very grim indeed.

From Library Journal

With shades of his previous book, Bell (Gospel Choirs, LJ 5/1/96) continues with his odd mixture of parables and political essays. In this sequel, he pairs fictional sidekick Geneva Crenshaw with President Clinton, who was influenced by her to make a speech at an event called "Racial Liberation Day," with a message to white Americans. Putting himself into the book as a character, Bell moves on to explain the legacy of "Afrolantica," a "promised land" for African Americans that sank to the bottom of the ocean. At this point, he borders on the absurd, using too much levity, as when he has contact with a supernatural being who descends to Earth in a parachute. Bell then gets serious as he debates one of his colleagues on black-Jewish relations and offers a critique on black academics. With his unconventional style, he nevertheless delivers powerful commentary on the issues of the day. Recommended for African American collections and those scholars seeking a challenge to their sensibilities.?Ann Burns, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book reads like it was written by someone whose entire existence was lived inside a bubble of racism, self-hatred, hopelessness and fantasy. To fully appreciate Bell's book you must take the man, himself, and his personal views into account as you read his writing. Desegregation was the very antithesis of his theory about racism. Bell refused to acknowledge the extraordinary, quantifiable gains made by blacks in America since desegregation. The progress in racial equality and race blindness that had resulted in America by the time Bell wrote this book profoundly undermined the credibility of his theory about racism. It is blatantly obvious that this story book was a desperate effort by Bell to restore life in a philosophical theory already proven wrong by the real world application of desegregation. Bell's entire life and renown were all about his theory. To admit he was wrong was not an option for him. Even his attempts at levity in this book fall short because they read false. Had Bell lived in the real world, rather than inside his insulated bubble of unrealistic theories of race and hatred, he would have written an entirely different book - an uplifting one, filled with encouragement and hope for the future of blacks in all countries around the globe. His was a sad, tormented life of self-delusion. You come away from this book feeling pity for the author. The book has a Don Quixote feel about it, sans the literary quality.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Derrick Bell is the well known former Harvard law professor who left his tenured position at Harvard because of the school's refusal to deal equitably with women of color. He has written a number of books, and those featuring Geneva Crenshaw are among his best. This latest book focuses on racism, and takes a deeper look at Jewish-black relationships, and the property rights in white skin color. While most thinking black Americans wouldn't find much to challenge here, many whites will find this a disturbing book on a number of levels.
The statement made by the fictional president of the USA that "we can no longer afford whiteness as an assumed right of citizenship" is one which should engender serious thinking among whites who want to really understand 21st century America. Even though this book was published in 1998, the issues it raises have not disappeared with the change in the century, increased numbers of "mixed" race children, and increased intermarriage between American blacks and others.
Would I buy this book? Yes. Would I keep it? Yes. This is a worthy read with plenty to think about.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
What I found most impressive about this book is the way it challenges assumptions and attitudes about Jewish racism and hegemony. Bell is a courageous and brilliant writer, and this is the best novel I have read in several months. And as a feminist and white woman, I found it much more interesting than many other books by white writers who attempt to address these issues. Highly recommended.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Derrick Bell returns to his "legal fiction", which again proves fascinating. Prof. Bell amplifies the sub rosa elements of race relations in the US, and holds them up to the light. This is a great read for any thinking person. Not to be missed.
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