Novelist, essayist, and cultural critic Albert Murray--a classmate of Ralph Ellison at Tuskegee University--has spent his whole life affirming the positive aspects of Afro-American culture while rejecting the sociologically flawed assumptions of white America. These essays from the '60s and '70s attack what he called the "social science fiction" propagated by Marxist theorists, black activists, sociologists, and politicians. The book's goal, he wrote, was "to expose the incompetence and consequent impracticality of people who are regarded as intellectuals but are guided by racial bias rather than reason based on scholarly insight." For Murray, black culture derives from the American South; is blues-based in its oral, literary, and musical traditions; and is heroic in its eternal attempts to affirm the principles set down in the Constitution. With the skill of a jazz pianist, Murray lays down some cool intellectual chords that drown out the bleak dissonances of black life articulated in mainstream culture to create a black, brown, and beige--and brilliantly American--composition of his own. --Eugene Holley Jr.
About the Author
Albert Murray was born in Alabama in 1916. A cultural critic, biographer, essayist, and novelist, he has taught at several colleges, including Colgate and Barnard, and his works include The Omni-Americans, South to a Very Old Place(nominated for a National Book Award), The Hero and the Blues, and Trading Twelve: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray. He has also won the ASCAPDeems Taylor Award for Stomping the Blues.