Coming up down Home: Memoir of a Sharecropper's Son

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In this engrossing memoir, novelist Cecil Brown, author of the highly acclaimed The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger, has written a lively and poignant account of his childhood in the small farming village of Bolton, North Carolina. Raised by a loving aunt and uncle, Brown evokes a lost world of rural southern America in the late forties and early fifties as he mischievously romps with his brother Cornelius through the cotton fields, churches, and houses of the tiny community populated by such vivid ...
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1st Edition, Fine/Fine Clean, tight & bright. NO ink names, bookplates, DJ tears etc. Price is unclipped. ISBN 0880012935

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Overview

In this engrossing memoir, novelist Cecil Brown, author of the highly acclaimed The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger, has written a lively and poignant account of his childhood in the small farming village of Bolton, North Carolina. Raised by a loving aunt and uncle, Brown evokes a lost world of rural southern America in the late forties and early fifties as he mischievously romps with his brother Cornelius through the cotton fields, churches, and houses of the tiny community populated by such vivid characters as Uncle Sugarboy, Geechie Collins, June Bug, Juicy Belle, and Miss Commie. But beyond the seeming small-town innocence and the insular bonds of his extended family, a growing awareness of prejudice and institutional racism leads young Cecil to a painful confrontation with his father's tragic past and his desire for Cecil to stay home on the farm. Finding respite and encouragement first in the simple illusions of magic, which provide valuable insights into surviving in the white man's world, then in jazz, in which a saxophone becomes a ticket to New York City, and, finally, in higher education, he struggles to break free of his family's violent history and from the land that was for so long their salvation. Reminiscent of Richard Wright's Black Boy and Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Coming Up Down Home is an evocative personal odyssey that mirrors this country's larger struggle with racism and violence that culminated in the marches and boycotts of the early 1960s. Steeped in the rich traditions, vivid folklore, and brutal history of rural African-Americans, it documents the coming of age of a young man as he sorts through dignity to arrive at a deeper understanding of the black identity in America.

The author of the highly acclaimed The Life & Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger offers an engrossing memoir of his childhood in the small farming village of Bolton, North Carolina, that documents the coming of age of an African-American intellectual as he sorts through conflicting emotions to finally achieve a deeper understanding of himself and the complex nature of his identity in America.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This evocative portrait of a Southern black family in the 1940s and 1950s is a work of classic proportions. It relates the joys and sorrows of two abandoned children--their father in prison and, relatives say, their ``high yaller'' mother too young and pretty to be tied down to a two-year-old and an infant. Luckily, they are looked after by wise and kind Uncle Lofton and Aunt Amanda, who live in the rural village of Bolton, N.C. Uncle Lofton has a job working on the railroad tracks, which the children admire, and Aunt Amanda sometimes lets them help her pick cotton. They grow up poor but loved. When their parents suddenly reappear after 10 years, Brown ( Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger ) and his brother Knee are cruelly wrenched from the aunt and uncle whom they regard as their real mother and father. At 13, Brown's adjustment is difficult; he fears his brutal father; his mother is no substitute for Aunt Amanda. He escapes by winning a scholarship to a local college and later he fulfills his dream of going North. Universal in many of the elements of a childhood recollected, this is a work of singular detail, and in Brown's greatly talented hands, it is totally engrossing. (July)
Library Journal
For blacks, growing up in North Carolina during the 1950s meant visits from the Klu Klux Klan, Whites Only signs, and a life of poverty and backbreaking work. In this memoir, Brown tells of his struggles to escape the violence plaguing his family and the low expectations for people of color. His rebellion culminates in his defiance of his father to seek summer work in New York City; he then wins a scholarship to college despite his principal's declaring that he isn't college material. Brown, the author of The Life and Loves of Mr. Jive Ass Nigger (Ecco Pr., 1991), among other books, tells his story with all the poignancy and sensitivity it deserves, never giving way to sentimentality despite the accumulated pain that lies just below the surface. An inspirational book that offers hope to all who seek to overcome discrimination . -- Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo
Alice Joyce
Brown's memoir offers reminiscences of a rural southern childhood in the late 1940s and 1950s, revealing an African American youth beset by the confusing restrictions of racial prejudice yet nurtured by the love of an aunt and uncle who raised him while his own father was incarcerated. Violence too often intruded upon life in his immediate family, but his extended family provided a special support, generations of personal history, and land to be farmed and to provide sustenance. Brown paints vivid pictures, humorous and poignant, such as his transformative experiences in New York City the summer before entering twelfth grade. The emotional and intellectual enlightenment of that period left its mark on the author and makes for a resounding conclusion to these memoirs. It's a tribute to him that this coming-of-age story, so direct and yet so beautifully constructed, is impossible to put down. An essential contribution to African American studies collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780880012935
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/1/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 222
  • Product dimensions: 6.19 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.93 (d)

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