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Black No More : A Novel (Modern Library Paperbacks)

Black No More : A Novel (Modern Library Paperbacks)
Author: George S. Schuyler
ISBN 13: 9780375753800
ISBN 10: 37575380
Edition: New edition
Publisher: Modern Library
Publication Date: 1999-06-29
Format: Paperback
Pages: 208
List Price: $15.00

A hillarious exploration of the bizarre events which occur when blacks literally 'disappear' from society.

Kirkus Reviews

37575380.X99 Schuyler, George BLACK NO MORE First published in 1931, this scathing satire on race embodies all the controversial notions of its author, the grouchy journalist and essayist Schuyler, a kindred spirit of his mentor and fellow misanthrope, H.L. Mencken. Best know for his dissenting essay, The Negro-Art Hokum, Schuyler (1895-1977) mocked most of the more prominent representatives of the Harlem Renaissance, and asks in this rollicking bit of speculative fiction: What if black people could change themselves to white? Inspired by popular products for skin-lightening, Schuyler imagines the discovery of a process that transforms Negroes into white people, and then watches all hell break loose. When Dr. Junius Crookman promises a three-day makeover, Max Disher, a dapper insurance agent with a taste for yallah gals, thinks of one thing all the ofay girls he can now pursue, especially a snobby cracker who snubbed him in a Harlem night club. For fifty bucks, Max is one of Crookman s first patients and emerges from his Frankenstein-like office with his new pork-colored skin. But Max s glorious new adventure turns ugly right away: his old friends reject him; his landlady accuses him of no race pride, and worse he finds white people less courteous and less interesting. The country too grows increasingly hysterical: the South calls for congressional action, and the infrastructure of Negro philanthropy begins to crumble. Scuyler smartly postulates the response of official black leadership, and saves his most damning portraits for characters who represent Garvey, DuBois, and Booker T., all of whom ultimately give in to the new process. Max s dilemma issimpler: he tries to figure out a way to capitalize off his new identity, and soon becomes the right hand man to the Rev. Givens, the grand poobah of the Knights of Nordica, and eventually marries his daughter, the very same girl from that night in Harlem. One problem remains, the whitening process doesn t pass to babies, so Max lives with the fear that his offspring will be his undoing. Not to worry, though, for events overwhelm all in this increasingly outrageous novel. As the hypocrisies mount, and the number of Negroes diminish, calls for racial purity increase. But the frantic researches into genealogy have an unintended result and one that Schuyler himself constantly argued that most white people have dusky ancestors, or as the Rev. Givens so aptly puts it, I guess we re all niggers now. Schuyler s miscegenetic ideas on race fuel this well-written look at chromatic democracy, a novel that prefigures both Ray Bradbury and Ralph Ellison. This wild book is much more than an historical curiosity, and its resurrection is a revelation.