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Black Like Us: A Century of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual African American Fiction Paperback – May 28, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Cleis Press; 1 edition (May 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573441082
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573441087
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,931,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Black Like Us should be on every bookshelf of people of color.
Readers Paradise
I recommend this book for anyone who is insterested in learning about the rich black gay history.
vane11206
The writing within this book is a crucial part of our literary history.
<3Books!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nino Alvarez on June 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Books that are "important," significant historically, academically, and politically, are more often than not, BORING. BLACK LIKE US is anything BUT boring. I collect anthologies but rarely have I read one from cover to cover. The collection of work from Queer Black Writers is composed in such a way that engages the reader from start to finish. The accompanying essays from Carbado and Weise are insightful and written with great intelligence and love for the work. What are you doing reading this review? Buy this BOOK now! And look, the darn thing is on SALE!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Park on July 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
In this world of the politically correct parry, it's good to know that the folks at Cleis Press do not suffer from the "me too" school of publishing. With BLU, readers are taken on an omnibus of writers that expand traditional boundaries of race and sexual preference. And it's about time. If you care about expanding your consciousness and folks who seek to shed light where there was none or little, then get a copy of BLU and get on the bus.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Readers Paradise VINE VOICE on August 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
Black Like Us should be on every bookshelf of people of color. I was born in Harlem and raised in Brooklyn; my affinity for the Harlem Renaissance period is strong even today. Each chapter is divided from the1900�s � 2000, and they are appropriately named. A small biography is placed before the excerpt and what book it was taken from.
Devon W. Carbado sectioned the book into different time periods.During the Protest Era a quote jumped off the pages at me "To be white male in America and realize your gayness and find out your opressed is a very different thing than being oppressed all your life as a woman of color." In Harlem during the 1920�s we witnessed a cultural firecracker with books like never before. I wonder how many of those books were written from Wallace Thurman's boarding house at 136th Street called the �Niggerati Manor?� There is an American Folk saying; if you want to keep something secret from black folks put it between the covers of a book. Nowadays that is not the case. With titles like Black Like Us and The Greatest Taboo by Delroy Constantine curiosity is winning. Black Like Us makes me feel proud of the many literary giants included in this work, empowering and sending us love.
It is the stories and quotes from this book that will keep Black Like Us as a reference tool on reader's shelves for years to come. Julie Blackwomon offers an excerpt from Voyages Out 2 titled "Symbols," a short story that reflects Julie's own life. She makes a very intriguing statement, "coming out of the closet is more than just a "gay thing" It is my hope that authors like these in Black Like Us help to cease the homophobia in the gay and heterosexual African American community. I thoroughly enjoyed this treasure and how it examines literature.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Black Like Us is a must have for those who love history and literature--gay, straight, black, white or otherwise. The introductory essays alone are worth the price of admission. B.L.U. is an instant classic.
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Format: Paperback
Black Like Us chronicles 100 years of the African American homosexual literary tradition. The short stories and excerpts of the featured authors affirm the interconnections among race, gender, and sexuality.

Beginning with the turn-of-the-century writings of Angelina Welde Grimke and Alice Dunbar Nelson, it follows the evolution of black homosexual fiction into the Harlem Renaissance of the revered Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen and the postwar era, in which works by Audre Lorde and social-activist James Baldwin signal the emerging sexual liberation movements. The three main sections features a overview of homosexual writing from the eras covered (the Harlem Renaissance, the postwar period, and contemporary gay life), with brief biographical information preceding each piece.

The 40 authors featured also include the popular modern authors Alice Walker and E. Lynn Harris.
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By Sharon Streeter on November 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I find this book interesting because it revealed the truth about many African American writers. The list of gay authors extends back into the 19th century. Most gay authors kept their sexuality a secret particularly in the early decades of the 20th century because of the predjudices against openly gay people. I do not personally judge writers concerning their sexuality but the content of their material. Gay people should read this book.
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