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International Socialist Review, Spring 1965




From International Socialist Review, Vol.26 No.2, Spring 1965, p.63.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Harlem: A Community in Transition
edited by John Henrik Clarke
The Citadel Press, New York, 1964. 223 pp. $3.95

Much of the material in this handsomely published book, (illustrated both with line drawings and photographs), was previously published in the Summer 1963 issue of Freedomways. It is an anthology by leading writers, scholars, and artists on Harlem – its problems, its culture, and its consciousness.

Contributors include Langston Hughes – two short essays, Kenneth Clark – describing HARYOU, Milton Galamison – to bring in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Richard B. Moore – on Africa consciousness, and many others, including an interview with James Baldwin.

The collection is honest and convincing and pulls no punches. A brief notice cannot begin to cover the variety of topics – Harlem literature, music, politics, economics, theater and nightclubs, to mention a few, – which flow from its pages.

Arbitrarily, one might mention Langston Hughes’ short concluding essay on the 1964 Harlem riots. With a mixture of humor and sarcasm, Hughes dismisses the “talking, writing, setting up committees to make reports ...” which has gone on before and will again, and won’t stop such outbreaks.

“Seemingly all that could conceivably be written or said,” Hughes notes, “has been said – and Harlem is still the same old Harlem.” But the real answers are there, and everybody knows them: “Prices ... Rentals ... Graft ...”

The present volume, however, may be excluded from Langston Hughes’ irony. The writing is direct, to the point ... and aimed at changing things.

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