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The Black Sleuth by John Edward Bruce. Boston. 2002. Northeastern University Press. hardcover. 126 pages. Jacket illustration by Leslie Evans. Edited & With An Introduction by John Cullen Gruesser. 1555535119.

 

1555535119FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Originally serialized in McGirt’s Magazine between 1907 and 1909, THE BLACK SLEUTH is one of the earliest African American fictional works to depict a black detective. Now published for the first time in book form, this fascinating yet idiosyncratic mystery centers on its West African protagonist, Sadipe Okukenu. The tale follows his student years, his successful career as a brilliant sleuth in England and on the continent, and his investigation of the theft of a large, flawless diamond. But THE BLACK SLEUTH is much more than a detective story. John Edward Bruce employs conventions from popular fiction and an extended ‘African-abroad’ plot to boldly attack and ridicule white prejudice and racial injustice in the United States and elsewhere. His narrative not only counters the dominant Eurocentric view of the world with a Black Atlantic perspective, but also educates his black readers about Africa, Western Imperialism, and, perhaps most important, themselves. Bruce’s novel ultimately suggests that even the most talented black sleuth. cannot break up the greatest conspiracy of all-that of prejudice against people of color in the United States and abroad. Instead, its defeat can apparently be attained only through black solidarity and coordinated resistance.’ - from the Introduction.

 

JOHN EDWARD BRUCE (1856-1924) was born a slave in Maryland and given a hero’s funeral in Harlem. He briefly studied at Howard University before beginning a career as a journalist, editor, historian, and public speaker. He was the cofounder with Arthur A. Schomburg of the Negro Society for Historical Research.’

 

 

 


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