Saturday, March 08, 2008

08.07 White Man's Justice, Black Man's Grief by Donald Goines

White Man's Justice, Black Man's Grief (1973) by Donald Goines
Pbk, Holloway House, 239 pp.

Thanks to walkerp for this short, sharp read (his review is here). Donald Goines is an African-American writer who wrote 16 novels over 5 years in the 1970's. Goines and his wife were shot to death in Detroit on the night of October 21, 1974. The identity of the killer or killers remains unknown.

White Man's Justice, Black Man's Grief is a brutally tough and realistic look at what a black man could go through being incarcerated in the mid-70s. The protagonist, Chester Hines (!), gets busted for a traffic violation, has some warrants and goes to the county jail for six months and is then moved to a much larger state prison. Inside, he describes the economy, friendships, brutality, rape and all the little games, hard and soft, that get played by men crowded into cages with no hope.

In the end the novel is a manifesto against a judicial system designed against the black man in America. I just read the other day that right now 1 in 100 Americans are incarcerated. For African-Americans that number is 1 in 15. I think Donald Goines would agree that little has changed in 35 years.


Crumbolst said...

Oh, I'm definitely putting this one on the list. Thanks.

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