Simple Speaks His Mind
New York. 1950. Simon & Schuster. 2nd Paperback Printing. Very Good In Slightly Worn Wrappers. 232 pages. paperback. keywords: Black Mystery Literature African American. inventory # 38370. FROM THE PUBLISHER - SIMPLE SPEAKS HIS MIND began as a series in The Chicago Defender. It was written with no idea that any but Negro readers would see it, and, for that reason, is revealing as the average book by or about Negroes has never been. One has almost a sense of eavesdropping in reading about Simple’s troubles with his girl and his landlady, his relaxation at bars and at parties, his worries with his job, his relatives, his daily life. ‘No matter what a man does, sick or well, something is liable to happen, especially if you are colored,’ says Simple. And a great many things do happen to him, from his childhood in Virginia to a battered but unbowed manhood in Harlem. Simple’s story is a very funny one. HOW SIMPLE SPEAKS HIS MIND WAS WRITTEN - The character whose nickname is Simple first appeared in a weekly column I was writing in 1943. He simply started talking to me one day about the war, Hitler, the draft, Shakespeare, and getting up earlier than necessary in the morning, so I put down on paper exactly what he said. Since then he has made some hundred and fifty appearances in print, and even received fan letters addressed to himself rather than to me, the author. Before beginning this series, in the early days of the war, I met a fellow in a bar who worked in a war plant. I asked him what he was making. He said, ‘Cranks.’ I said, ‘What kind of cranks?’ He said, ‘Cranks! Just cranks!’ I said. ‘What do they crank?’ He said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t crank with them cranks. I just make ‘em. They don’t tell colored folks what cranks crank.’ Months later, somehow in my subconscious mind, that fellow evolved into the character Simple, talking about everything from war plants to love, usually in terms of race. Being himself a Negro and a Harlemite, he talked about the things many Harlemites continually discuss, in the half-humorous, half serious way peculiar to persons of his station in life. Much of the material in SIMPLE SPEAKS HIS MIND is derived from actual conversations heard or overheard in bars and on the corners of the largest urban Negro community in the world, reflecting not the Harlem of the intellectual and professional, but that of the ordinary ‘man in the street,’ the basic Harlemite who may not ‘always know, but who often lives, those lines from the blues: When you see me laughing, I’m laughing to keep from crying.’ - LANGSTON HUGHES. Very Good In Slightly Worn Wrappers. Bookseller Inventory # 38370
Title: Simple Speaks His Mind
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 1950
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