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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Interracial Vintage Paperbacks

Thanks to Roz's post at Mindkandy (registration required), I discovered this little known piece of history. Good Girl Art features covers from pulp fiction from the 40s and 50s with interracial themes. Given the era, of course, the literature and covers are racially insensitive, but that they exist at all surprises me, especially stories involving white men and women of color. One book of note is Nigger Heaven, an unfortunate attempt to explain the black man to white readers and claims to "tear away the dark clouds of misunderstanding and prejudice" and even features a glossary of "Negro words and phrases." The author, a Mr. Van Vechten, attempts to apologize for the title by claiming "many Negroes are my intimate friends."

I particularly like African Mistress with the tagline, "She dragged him down to the lowest depths" which I take to mean white man loses all his civility by swinging with one of the darky tribe. Another cute title: Harlem is My Heaven where one of those lowlife black women tricks a good-hearted Texas boy into believing she's white. Holy molie! Shame on 'er. We even get the white seductress who leads the poor black servant - make that "boy" - astray. 'Cause lordie knows he shouldna been touchin' that! And of course, there are few "savage Injuns" thrown in - a figure many a romance reader is all too familiar with.

Fortunately, we've come a long way since these storylines were popular. Unfortunately, in some cases, we haven't trekked far enough.

Check the covers below:


Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 2/06/2007 07:55:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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