The omni-Americans: Some alternatives to the folklore of white supremacy

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9780394714684: The omni-Americans: Some alternatives to the folklore of white supremacy

The Omni-Americans is a classic collection of wickedly incisive essays, commentaries, and reviews on politics, literature, and music. Provocative and compelling, Albert Murray debunks the "so-called findings and all-too-inclusive extrapolations of social science survey technicians," contending that "human nature is no less complex and fascinating for being encased in dark skin." His claim that blacks have produced "the most complicated culture, and therefore the most complicated sensibility in the western world" is elucidated in a book which, according to Walker Percy, "fits no ideology, resists all abstractions, offends orthodox liberals and conservatives, attacks social scientists and Governor Wallace in the same breath, sees all the faults of the country, and holds out hope in the end."

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Review:

Novelist, essayist, and cultural critic Albert Murray--a classmate of Ralph Ellison at Tuskegee University--has spent his whole life affirming the positive aspects of Afro-American culture while rejecting the sociologically flawed assumptions of white America. These essays from the '60s and '70s attack what he called the "social science fiction" propagated by Marxist theorists, black activists, sociologists, and politicians. The book's goal, he wrote, was "to expose the incompetence and consequent impracticality of people who are regarded as intellectuals but are guided by racial bias rather than reason based on scholarly insight." For Murray, black culture derives from the American South; is blues-based in its oral, literary, and musical traditions; and is heroic in its eternal attempts to affirm the principles set down in the Constitution. With the skill of a jazz pianist, Murray lays down some cool intellectual chords that drown out the bleak dissonances of black life articulated in mainstream culture to create a black, brown, and beige--and brilliantly American--composition of his own. --Eugene Holley Jr.

About the Author:

Albert Murray was born in Alabama in 1916. A cultural critic, biographer, essayist, and novelist, he has taught at several colleges, including Colgate and Barnard, and his works include The Omni-Americans, South to a Very Old Place(nominated for a National Book Award), The Hero and the Blues, and Trading Twelve: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray. He has also won the ASCAP–Deems Taylor Award for Stomping the Blues.

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Murray, Albert
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