Josh's "autobiographical novel," Black Cracker, thirty years in the making:
Josh Alan Friedman (Tales of Times Square) was the only white boy to attend New York’s last segregated school. It was adjacent to Glen Cove’s now-forgotten Back Road Hill--the grimmest Negro shantytown on Long Island. On the tenth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, a large delegation of NAACP foot soldiers from the South descended upon the Back Road. This was perhaps the only instance where poor Black folks from Mississippi chartered a bus to protest conditions up North. Unbeknownst to the kids, the NAACP lobbied to close their school, finally succeeding in 1966.
While Glen Cove’s history summons up lore of the Gold Coast robber barons—grand estates of F.W. Woolworth, J.P. Morgan, the Pratts of Standard Oil—Josh Alan Friedman reveals the astonishing Black ghetto that was hidden from view. Lost to history, it was eradicated during President Johnson’s War on Poverty.
Brought back to life is Bobo, Josh’s closest school chum and role model to ruin. Bobo single-handedly sets back progress for Black children on morning TV, after his disastrous appearance as the first Negro child on Wonderama. A casualty of the “Disruptive Child Clause,” Bobo is expelled from fourth grade. We meet the tragic and smelly Mumsy, who trains Josh as a shoeshine boy at Penn Station. And Mumsy’s Aunt Nellie, who loves white people so much, she gives up her seat on buses, apologizing for Rosa Parks. And also among Black Cracker’s array of terrifying women, is Legertha, who wants to kill white people. She rouses the mothers of Back Road Hill into a mob, whereby young Josh barely survives a lynching.
A Northern sidebar to the civil-rights era, Black Cracker tackles the taboo subject of reverse discrimination. An “autobiographical novel” based in fact, you can read it now on Kindle—providing the missing link in an evolving canon of Afro-American literature.
Click here to buy Black Cracker on Amazon Kindle
Print edition coming soon!