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Other titles in the Northeastern Library of Black Literature series:
Alien Land (Northeastern Library of Black Literature)by Willard Savoy
Synopses & Reviews
Action-packed and absorbing, a grim but sensitive picture of race and identity in America
Alien Land is the passionate and haunting story of a light-skinned black man who can pass as white in mid-twentieth-century America. As a spiritually tormented child and young adult caught between two worlds in a segregated society, Kern Roberts puzzles over racism and agonizes over why he's a nigger. As a teenager studying at the exclusive Evans Academy in Vermont, Kern passes until a classmate maliciously exposes him. Anguished and resentful, he throws himself into working for the Freedom League in Washington, D.C., the civil rights organization of which his father, a prominent black attorney, is national president. In 1934 Kern starts college in an alien land, the Jim Crow South. Exposed to horrifying racially motivated crimes, prejudice, and contempt, Kern necessarily plays the submissive nigger until, terrorized, he renounces his race and his father, returning to Vermont to live as a white man with his white grandmother. Ultimately he comes to terms with his biracial identity, finds peace in his marriage to a white woman, and reconciles with his father.
Robert Burns Stepto's keen introduction firmly situates Alien Land in the line of African American novels that treat the issue of identity through the motif of passing. Originally published in cloth in 1949 to national acclaim, the full text of this remarkable novel is finally available in paperback.
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