One result of the combined American prejudice against both blacks and sexual minorities is that as these voices finally come to light, they seem astonishingly new. The words of Alice Dunbar Nelson or Angelina Welde Grimke, both of whom wrote at the turn of the twentieth century, are as fresh to us as the novels of E. Lynn Harris. This groundbreaking and beautifully crafted anthology--a graduate seminar in a single volume--reveals a hidden tradition, no less powerful for being filtered quietly from writer to writer, sometimes between the lines of published stories or novels. All the writers you would expect are gathered here--Langston Hughes (represented by his incomparable story, "Blessed Assurance," posthumously published in 1963), Countee Cullen, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde--beside scores of lesser-known figures. Many of the contemporary writers included are out of the closet, but not widely read as gay. The unifying factor is the high quality of the work, rare in a collection such as this. With historical introductions, author profiles, and an extensive bibliography, Black Like Us
is a sparkling scholarly accomplishment, as well as a fantastic, accessible read. --Regina Marler
From Library Journal
The editors of this fine paperback original Carbado (law and African American studies, UCLA), Dwight A. McBride (English and African American studies, Northwestern Univ.), and Donald Weise (Gore Vidal: Sexually Speaking) here offer an overview of 100 years of African American queer fiction that affirms rather than negates the interconnections among race, gender, and sexuality. All the usual names are here James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, April Sinclair, Alice Walker, etc. but the editors also do a great service in resurrecting lesser-known writers such as Owen Dodson. Whether the 36 authors are represented by a short story or by excerpts from their novels, the selections as a whole show them to be exemplars of "black queer writing." Additionally, each of the three main sections features a lengthy critical overview of queer writing from the eras covered (the Harlem Renaissance, the postwar period, and contemporary gay life), with brief biographical information preceding each piece. Although the editors make no claims for this being a definitive study, most readers will be pleased with the collection's impressive breadth. Highly recommended for all libraries as a complement to Shawn S. Ruff's Go the Way Your Blood Beats. Anthony J. Adam, A & M Univ. Lib., Prairie View, TX
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