Manchild in the Promised Land – Claude Brown (1965)

1960s: Days of Rage

“Claude Brown’s Manchild in the Promised Land appeared at a pivotal political and cultural moment in the United States fifty years ago. 1965 saw the murder of Malcolm X, the eruption of the Watts uprising, a great escalation of direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, the issuing of the Moynihan Report, the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights marches, the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and the founding of the Black Arts Repertory Theater and School in Harlem, to name only a relative few of the major events that year. While the term ‘Black Power’ would not be popularized until the following year, the Black Power and Black Arts movements were clearly in formation by 1965. It was this milieu of social turmoil and the continuing, though uncertain, transformation of the racial regime of the United States that made it possible for Brown’s book, a sort of bildungsroman of…

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