Daniel meets CHRISTIE, groomed by her deceased mother to be the proper hostess, EPHRAIM, son of a Lower East Side kosher butcher, and JEFF, from a Midwest farm family. Their individual and collective intent over the next three years is to change the course of American political history. Their step-by-step radicalization, however, places the activist quartet in tragic conflict with their lagging psychological capacity to cope with the change they seek to create.
Shadowing the four are "spirits" of Original People: Montaukett, Lenni-Lenape, Munsee, and Anishinaabe. These spirits contrive to aid the four activists.
A fellow activist, ARTHUR, born in Albany, Georgia, teaches Daniel about the subtleties of northern racism at a roadside diner just outside Albany, New York. A Cornell student, Arthur finds himself at a demonstration in a most unlikely place.
Motion is the new coinage of this political change. As he passes through many locales, Daniel confronts the legacy of his old world of obligation buried within his new world of freedom.
Caught up in the dynamic of their own collective creation, the quartet simultaneously seeks to shut down a powerful institution. How they react when their movement--physical, emotional, mental-is frozen, shows how an era ended.
Early on, Daniel first wonders about and then discovers a secret locked in his grandmother's steamer trunk. A confrontation over the secret ends badly for both. In the end, grandmother and grandson finally find a way to release in the other the burden and guilt of living lies.
The "sound" of the activist Sixties is represented at the start of each chapter by the titles and performers of freedom, rock 'n' roll, folk, and international songs popular at the time.
Substantial Endnotes anchor the action of the novel to historical events and references.
|Product dimensions:||5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.67(d)|
About the Author
The global headline during my eighth year was the outbreak of war on the Korean peninsula, but my own story in the summer of 1950 involved Little League baseball, and my first opposition to an authority figure. The same coach, whom I admired for three years, informed all his pitchers that, under no circumstance, could we play stickball because throwing a tennis ball would "ruin" our arms. I came to every game and practice, looking him in the eyes, knowing the thrill of improving my curveball during stickball games--and fearing discovery. I was introduced to what rebellion felt like.
In January 1967, after graduating Wesleyan University and as a graduate student at Union Theological Seminary, I was asked to meet Rev. Isaac Igarashi, director of Eastern Field Operations at the National Council of Churches. "Ike" had a job for me to do: organize a demonstration in support of F.I.G.H.T., an African-American community organization supported by the Rochester Council of Churches.
Having already become an anti-war and anti-apartheid activist in student-led movements(November 1965 and September 1966, respectively), I was now active in adult-led civil rights and economic justice movements.
One evening in early 1971, I sat alone in the office of a national magazine of which I was the editor. I thought about our extremely diverse staff, recruited to be authentic voices from varied backgrounds and life styles, but unable to work well collaboratively. I realized I had been both a creator of and a witness to the fissures, which became chasms, in these movements of "The Sixties."
In August 1971, I began to tell the story, as honestly as possible, about "Why" the student-led "Sixties" was imploding. The writing was suspended, but not the dream. Ten years ago, I started in earnest to write Passing Through (The Sixties).