While it’s great to read magazines and blogs, sometimes we need something a little bit deeper, just the feeling of a book in my hands makes me feel reassured and at ease. Reading this book is truly as spiritual experience and both harrowing as well as reassuring.
Manchild in the Promised Land is a seminal work of modern literature published during a literary era marked by the ascendance of black writers such as Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Alex Haley. This thinly fictionalized account of Claude Brown’s childhood as a streetwise criminal trying to survive the toughest streets of Harlem has been heralded as the definitive chronicle of everyday life for the first generation of African-Americans raised in the Northern ghettos of the 1940s and 1950s.
When it was first published in 1965, Manchild in the Promised Land was praised for its realistic portrayal of Harlem—the children, young people, hardworking parents; the hustlers, drug dealers, prostitutes, and numbers runners; the police; the violence, sex, and humor. The New York Times Book Review declared that it was
“written with brutal and unvarnished honesty in the plain talk of the people, in language that is fierce, uproarious, obscene and tender.”
The book continues to resonate generations later, not only because the struggles of urban youth are as deeply felt today as they were in Brown’s time but also because of its inspiring message. Here is the story about the boy who “made it.”