Back in 2017, The Nation ran a superb, in-depth story on "heirs' property," a legalized form of property theft that allows primarily rich white developers to expropriate land owned by the descendants' of Black slaves. Read the rest
When I reviewed Matt Ruff's incredible Lovecraft Country last February on its hardcover release dates, I wrote, "Ruff inverts the Lovecraft horror, which turned so often on "miscegenation" and the duty of advanced humans to trample those around them in their drive to recapture this lost wisdom (and humanity's lost grace). His Lovecraftian horror is the horror of the people whom the Lovecraftian heroes viewed as subhuman, expendable, a stain on the human race. By blending real history (such as the Tulsa riots) and Lovecraftian tropes, Ruff's characters shine as active protagonists in their own story who have lives, have dignity, and have indomitable spirit that they use to fight back against the power structure that Lovecraft lionized." Read the rest
Matt Ruff is a spectacular and versatile science fiction writer who is perhaps most commonly considered an absurdist, thanks to his outstanding 1988 debut Fool on the Hill, but whose more recent works have highlighted his ability to walk the fine line between funny-ha-ha and funny-holy-shit. The Mirage was one such novel, but as brilliant as it was (and it was), it was only a warm-up for this book, Lovecraft Country, a book that takes a run at the most problematic writer in today's pop culture canon and blasts right through him. Read the rest
In 1936, postal worker Victor H. Green worked with his colleagues in the Postal Workers Union to create a guide for black travelers navigating a country where many restaurants, hotels, and shops were still "whites only," and the real threat of physical assault and arrest hung in their faces.
"You needed The Green Book to tell you where you can go without having doors slammed in your face," civil rights leader Julian Bond once said.
The Green Book was updated and in print until 1966.
"There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published," reads the introduction.
More at Atlas Obscura: "Object of Intrigue: A Jim Crow Era Guide for Black Travelers" (Thanks, David Steinberg!)
Previously: "New York Public Library does the public domain right"