"'Black women are better whores,' proclaims a character — who is one herself — in I, Stagolee (North Atlantic, $15.95), Cecil Brown's second book about an 1895 murder that spawned a ballad that some say spawned rap. Brown's Berkeley Ph.D is in narrative African-American literature and folklore; this rich tale probes a sensitive, intelligent pimp — "We pimps ... protected our women against the brutal police. ... Never hit a woman and she will always find her way back to you" — who owned sixty Stetsons and killed a man for a hat. The word "mack," we learn, comes from the French maquereau — mackerel, snif snif."—East Bay Express"I, Stagolee puts the 'e' in enjoyable and the ‘e’ in exquisite. A great novel."- film director Melvin Van Peebles"Cecil Brown’s brilliant book provides a historical context for the current pimp craze."-novelist Ishmael Reed"With humor, zest, imagination, and affection, Stagolee (storyteller and participant) tells us straight out who really shot whom and why. This is imaginative fiction at its best."-Al Young, novelist and Poet Laureate of California (2006)"Cecil Brown has captured the underside of political intrigue and corruption that unfurled within complex racial patterns at a time when prostitution was legal and black men could still wield influence during elections..."-Kathleen Cleaver, Senior Lecturer, Yale University and Emory Law School, editor of Target Zero: A Life in Writing by Eldridge Cleaver"I, Stagolee reads like an imaginative, elucidating, and heartfelt set of liner notes to this haunting tale of the original black anti-hero."-Paul Beatty, editor and author of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor and author, The White Boy Shuffle
About the Author
Cecil Brown, novelist, screenwriter, and scholar, was educated at Columbia University (B.A.), University of Chicago (M.A.), and the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D.). His other published work includes The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger, Days Without Weather, Coming Up Down Home, and Stagolee Shot Billy. Cecil Brown has been awarded a W.E. Dubois Fellowship from Harvard University. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, specializing in African-American folklore, oral narrative, and literature. In the spring of 2006, he initiated a new class, "Richard Pryor, Humor, and American Society."