Title: Black No More:
Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Workings of Science in the Land of the Free
Author: George S. Schuyler
Genre: Classic Satire / Sci-fi
Rating: 4 of 5
This classic satire imagines what would happen if an African American doctor discovered a way to make black people into white people. It is by turns hilarious and grim. The character who loosely ties the book together is Dr. Crookman’s (yes, there are lots of not-so-subtle contrived names) first patients to undergo the transformation. He promptly works his way into the upper echelons of a white supremacist organization (basically the KKK) and political/social commentary ensues. Additionally, many of the characters are clearly meant to represent/lambaste some of Schuyler’s “Harlem Renaissance” contemporaries and leaders of the NAACP. Even if a lot of those references go over your head (as they did for me), the main points made seem to suffer very little.
One of Schuyler’s main points seems to be that those who keep the racial tensions boiling (both the KKK and the NAACP) do so primarily for personal wealth and power (especially as a way of manipulating the poor whites in the South). And, of course, there’s the point that people are just people and distinctions based on racial ancestry are ultimately absurd. There’s a lot more going on too for such a small book, but I feel like I would have to read it again (as well as some other “Harlem Renaissance” literature) to be able to discuss it intelligently. Overall: there’s a lot to think about in here presented in an entertaining fashion.
One final note: I am using this book as my “Classic with a color in the title” over at the Back to the Classics Challenge 2018.
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