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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars this play provides insight into subconscience racism
this play is wonderful. not only does the reader come away with a deeper insight into the racist psyche that plagues our country, but also a clearer view of how racism is perpetuated systematicly in a subsconscience manner. it becomes very appearant that many of the racist characters in the play are truly unaware of the devestating effects their racist attitude is...
Published on April 20, 1999

versus
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars searing
biting and searing
written in 1964
if you're white--its an angry eye opener
Published on September 8, 2002 by William D. Tompkins


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars this play provides insight into subconscience racism, April 20, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play (Paperback)
this play is wonderful. not only does the reader come away with a deeper insight into the racist psyche that plagues our country, but also a clearer view of how racism is perpetuated systematicly in a subsconscience manner. it becomes very appearant that many of the racist characters in the play are truly unaware of the devestating effects their racist attitude is having on their growth as individuals. in fact, we find that we find that such characters are so misguided in their views, they often mistake them as being wholesome,that is, for the betterment of all people, and scripturally based. baldwin's depiction of this cancerous mentality is brilliant. the reader sees clearly how misguided premises can corrupt one's entire mentality.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blues for Ms. Tiffany!, June 12, 2001
By 
Tiffany (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play (Paperback)
I have just finished this book, and I am sorry it has taken me so long to pick it up. You start reading and you almost forget it is a play! There is a lesson to be taught in this book, and one to be learned when finished. It shows more than one reality of living in the south back in this time. There was racism, there was tolerance,there was love and there was always turmoil! A battle to do the right thing and even the wrong!. We are all a product of our surroundings but we can also try to change that, and sometimes the cost of not "wanting things to be the way they have always been" is too much for any one person. It made me sad, (hence my blues!) but I came away with a little extra something. Please read this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How racism obstructs justice, March 10, 2006
By 
 RIZZO  (Denver Metro Area) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play (Paperback)
James Baldwin's best known play, known as a protest drama, Blues for Mister Charlie, is included in the Best American Plays 6th Series (1963-67 Baldwin said it is based distantly on the true story of a Mississippii youth, Emmett Till in 1955, who was murdered for whistling at a white woman.

The three act play has two sets, the Negro church and the courthouse and in the church setting is a division of characters in Whitetown and Blacktown. Mister Charlie is pseudo for all white men. The lengthy play does go into flashback, so it is important to spot when the flashbacks occur. And one important flashback is the real account of the murder that took place.

The opening begins as The black Reverend Meridian discusses whether anybody will be arrested for his son Richard's murder. Lyle, a racist bigot, is accused of the murder. Parnell, also white, is a longtime friend of Lyle. Parnell is also a good friend of all the black folk. This relationship plays a large role.

The play then shifts to Whitetown where we learn who storekeeper Lyle and his wife Jo are. Here, Lyle tries to get Parnell to believe him that he didn't kill anyone Lyle is adamant that he will never be convicted. We learn that Lyle has killed a black man before. It is said that Lyle was having an affair with an old black man's young wife.

Then, the captivating courtroom dialogue, written with interspersed commentary from the Whitetown and Blacktown and some flashbacks.

If you are familiar with the works of Baldwin, you will recognize the preacher in him. His father was a preacher. Baldwin through Rev Meridian has a powerful memorable monologue at the pulpit. In this play, one gets a true understanding of racism against blacks and whites and how justice is obstructed through racism.
........Rizzo.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mississippi goddam- Revisted, April 25, 2010
This review is from: Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play (Paperback)
I have written a number of commentaries in this space on the subject of the heinous murder by "white trash", allegedly for whistling while black at a white woman, of black teenager Emmett Till down in small town Mississippi in 1955. The firestorm raised over the horrible deed, including the not guilty verdict by an all white jury, by his mother and others in the wake of the verdict did much to galvanize Northern opinion, black and white, for the then brewing black civil rights struggle that would dominate the first half of the 1960s. Mississippi put the world on notice that not only adult black men were subject to the "white is right, blacks get back" free-fire zone but black children as well.

Working such an inflammatory subject into literary form would seem to be right up the alley for one of the premier black writers of the period, James Baldwin. Moreover, unlike some of the more exclusively literary types who hibernated in New York during the Eisenhower 1950s, Baldwin was a committed and articulate advocate of black rights. And a voice for righteous black rage, although not necessarily of a revolutionary bent. Thus, when prodded by the subsequently slain Mississippi civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, to do a treatment on the Till case, Baldwin had to step up to the plate and throw some fire into the flames.

Rather than attempt a novelistic treatment which could, on reflection, diffuse the emotional impact of the subject behind much eloquent verbiage Baldwin created a three act play which, as his stage directions indicate, would do more than a novel to bring home the intense racial animosities that centuries of racial tension had engendered. Although some of the characters seem like stock figures now: the black "Uncle Toms" who smoothed the way for the white power structure; the "white trash" who had no stake in the society except not to be, mercifully, black; the uppity black "agitator" who had been to the North and learned Northern de facto segregation ways there which provided just a little more elbow room if no less danger; the black clergy preaching, ever preaching, forbearance; the thoughtful black woman who knows that the life expectancy of a black man, and hence part of her happiness can sometimes be counted in days; and, the sympathetic "liberal" white Southern who also held the system together by not going beyond well defined bounds that would upset his fellow whites, in high place and low.

Hey, we all know what the jury verdict was in the Till case. We also know even before turning the first page of this play what the verdict will be in the death of the black man by a white in this case , modeled as it is on the Till case. We also know this, that over fifty years after the event been no real justice in the Till case. We know as well that James Baldwin, if he were alive today, might very well still be able to write about some current Till case. And, finally, we know this anytime the racial question in Mississippi in the 1950s and 1960s, or later, came up- Nina Simone may have said it more lyrically than Baldwin, perhaps, but they both make the same point. Mississippi goddam.
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5.0 out of 5 stars amazing, November 27, 2013
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Had to read this play for dramatic structure a college course that is required for my major I thought it was beautiful and so HONEST
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5.0 out of 5 stars rating the company, April 26, 2013
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This review is from: Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play (Paperback)
This book was sent on time and in good condition. The book itself was not something I would read normally. It was required reading for school.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great, March 14, 2013
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This review is from: Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play (Paperback)
very interesting to read, and with this book i'm gonna do a school project i'm getting very inspired about it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great piece of theater literature, August 30, 2011
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This review is from: Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play (Paperback)
I loved following the characters and the heavy layers of symbolism nearly on every page. It was definitely a tug on personal perspective, asking the reader or the audience to really evaluate yourself based on how you interpreted the story. Great way to make you think.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Strong Commentary of Racial Relations of the 1960s, June 18, 2007
This review is from: Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play (Paperback)
James Baldwin, an American literary juggernaut, has plowed over his readership, and the modern American theater as well, with this successful attempt at playwriting. Set in the civil rights hayday in a southern everytown, Baldwin introduces readers to a cast of characters that all firmly believe themselves right in a world that couldn't be any more wrong.

In addition to pointient dialouge, Baldwin also uses the stage to make his point, segregating the set into blacktown and whitetown with only a communistic journalist regularly breaking the barrier. This play successfully encapsulates the climate of the American civil rights era south in much the same way that history books such as "Common Ground" grasp the life of the north of the same period.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars searing, September 8, 2002
By 
William D. Tompkins (New York, New York USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play (Paperback)
biting and searing
written in 1964
if you're white--its an angry eye opener
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Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play
Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play by James Baldwin (Paperback - April 25, 1995)
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