African American Literature,  Book Reviews,  FICTION,  History,  Sixties

Cotton Comes to Harlem by Chester Himes *** (of 4)

This is such an accurate rendtion of 1960s Harlem I could smell the trash in the streets, sense the despair, hear the sirens, and feel like an invisible observer of slum-bound African Americans before civil rights. It was perfectly reproduced I could only envision the action on a black and white screen. Two black detectives, Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones, search the bars, drug dens, steaming summer streets, junkyards, abandoned lots, whore houses, and jazz halls for a ring of thieves. It’s a period piece, but of a type not many people with this much insight ever put together. August 2009.