Black No More(1931)
A novel by George Samuel Schuyler
This satirical Harlem Renaissance-era novel by black conservative intellectual George S. Schuyler (1895-1977), who wrote for the Pittsburgh Courier and contributed to the NAACP's influential Crisis magazine, is a hilariously insightful treatise on the absurdities of racial identity. Dr. Junius Crookman, a Harlem-based African American physician, mysteriously returns from Germany with a formula that can transform black people into whites. "It looked," Schuyler deadpans, "as though science was to succeed where the Civil War failed." One of the first to enlist Dr. Crookman's services is an insurance salesman named Max Disher, who as the white Matthew Fisher is now free to pursue the white women who once rejected him and otherwise bask in Euro-American social privilege (including a top position in a hate group called the Knights of Nordica). Schuyler unveils the futility of this electro-chemical form of "passing" through the emptiness the Disher/Fisher character encounters in the white cultural world, which doesn't measure up to the Harlem nightlife--revealing the poison behind the notion of wanting to be something you're not. --Eugene Holley Jr.
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June 1999 : USA Paperback