Harlem Reader by Herb Boyd
Judicious Selection of Published Texts
There are two distinct opinions about Harlem. There are people who are in love with Harlem and even can’t discuss it rationally. On the other hand there are such people who are completely disenchanted and cannot see, feel and know its spirits, passions, hidden beauties and allures. Boyd’s Harlem Reader is a judicious selection of published texts by writers who knew and know Harlem very well. They reflect the ever changing, ever evolving public consciousness of Harlem as a community, a centre of cultural creativity and an icon of the best and worst that urban black Americans has produced. There is a presentation of heyday 1920’s.In those days Harlem became the cultural capital of black America.
Stereotypes Constructed Against Negros
Boyd has included in his selection works which span two centuries and represent some of the most significant social political and cultural African American voices of 20th century.
Characterized by spiritual insightfulness critical yet celebrity writings, the essays articles short stories and poetry included in the Harlem reader are perfect introduction to the issues, events and personalities that have made Harlem one of America’s most unique communities.
There are 48 selections in this edition of Harlem Reader which make our thoughts to fly in the different times of American history. We find ourselves with the first president of America and our imaginative voyage ends in the contemporary Harlem in which writer is himself residing till now and writing for a newspaper Amsterdam news.
Critically we can apply post colonial theories on the issue of black American’s renaissance. There are same stereotypes as were enumerated by Edward said for Orientals. In fact African- Americans blacks are orients. There is the same attitude of white Americans towards them as it is and was towards the East or Orient. Negros are considered inferior, lazy, ignorant, abhor-able so forth and so on. Every selection in Boyd compilation reveals one of the stereotypes constructed against Negros or African Americans.
Harlem renaissance of 1920’s and 1930’s was a movement of self assertion against white supremacy. It was loosely connected with the anti- colonial movements of the world. It was a movement for civil rights and assertion that black are second to none in every field of life. Herb Boyd who is still alive and writing from Harlem in New Amsterdam news has seen and experienced the entire Harlem renaissance with his naked eyes.
Herb Boyd is still trying to awaken the sleeping conscience of the humanity. If there is some relief for the Negros of America ,it is due to such people who are steadily and slowly making efforts for this cause.