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The Dark Side of Hopkinsville: Stories by Ted Poston

The Dark Side of Hopkinsville: Stories by Ted Poston

by Poston, Kathleen A. Hauke (Editor)

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Knowing, gentle humor marks these tales based on Poston's childhood in the segregated Southern town of Hopkinsville, Ky. Poston (1906-1974) was a pioneering black journalist and member of Roosevelt's ``Negro Cabinet.'' Inspired by a western movie where the Indians won, young Ted and his friends decide to take over the swimming hole they share with a group of white boys--and encounter a young opponent who breaks their stereotypes of size and strength. In a world full of inter- and intraracial color prejudice, Ted gets an unexpected lesson in bigotry when the father of a white friend objects to his son playing not with Ted, but with two Jewish boys. Picaresque incidents abound. When the protests of Hopkinsville's black adults fail to keep Birth of a Nation out of the local movie theater, Ted's pal Rat Joiner comes to the rescue with an ingenious plan that plunges the film into everlasting local obscurity. And Ted wreaks hilarious revenge on the Booker T. Washington Colored Grammar School when his dark skin earns him the part of the Evil Fairy instead of the coveted role of Prince Charming in the school play. Included are interviews with longtime residents of Hopkinsville. Hauke is a freelance editor. (July)
Library Journal
Poston, a native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, became the first black reporter for a major white metropolitan newspaper and a member of Franklin D. Roosevelt's ``Negro Cabinet'' in Washington in 1940. He had hoped to publish these ten short stories in a volume as evidence of the life-affirming depth of the cultural experiences he had growing up in a segregated society in the early 20th century. Poston based most of the characters in these stories on actual persons. In the first, ``Mr. Jack Johnson and Me,'' the narrator, a youngster called Big Chief Geronimo, takes on a white boy in a fight over swimming hole rights. Instead of proving his boxing prowess to the other black children present, Geronimo gets ``scalped.'' ``Cousin Blind Mary'' is a story about Hopkinsville's well-to-do black fortuneteller whose reputation for being savvy and shrewd in her dealings with whites makes her an almost legendary figure in the black community. The Dark Side is a fascinating, first-hand portrait of a culture and a time in American life little known or remembered outside Southern black communities. Highly recommended for collections of American literature and African American studies materials.-- Francis Poole, Univ. of Delaware Lib., Newark

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University of Georgia Press
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Product dimensions:
5.56(w) x 8.45(h) x 0.46(d)

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