In Coming through the Fire, prominent scholar and writer C. Eric Lincoln addresses the most important issue of our time with insights forged by a lifetime of confronting racial oppression in America. Born in a small rural town in northern Alabama, raised by his grandparents, Lincoln portrays in rich detail the nuances of racial conflict and control that characterized the community of Athens, personal experiences which would lead him to dedicate his life to illuminating issues of race and social identity. The contradictions and calamities of being black and poor in the United States become a purifying fire for his searing analyses of the contemporary meanings of race and color.
Coming through the Fire, with its fiercely intelligent, passionate, and clear-eyed view of race and class conflict, makes a major contribution to understanding-and thereby healing-the terrible rift that has opened up in the heart of America. Lincoln explores the nature of biracial relationships, the issue of transracial adoption, violence-particularly black-on-black violence-the "endangered" black male, racism as power, the relationship between Blacks and Jews, our multicultural melting pot, and Minister Louis Farrakhan.Without sidestepping painful issues, or sacrificing a righteous anger, the author argues for "no-fault reconciliation," for mutual recognition of the human endowment we share regardless of race, preparing us as a nation for the true multiculture tomorrow will demand.
Readers familiar with Lincoln's earlier groundbreaking work on the Black Muslims and on the black church will be eagerly awaiting the publication of Coming through the Fire. Others will simply find C. Eric Lincoln's personal story and his exploration of survival and race in America to be absorbing and compelling reading.
C. Eric Lincoln (1924-2000) was, at the time of his death, William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor Emeritus of Religion and Culture at Duke University. His widely acclaimed publications include The Black Muslims in America; The Black Church since Frazier; Race, Religion, and the Continuing American Dilemma; and, with Lawrence H. Mamiya and published by Duke University Press, The Black Church in the African American Experience. He has also written a novel, The Avenue, Clayton City, now published in paperback by Duke University Press, and a collection of poems, This Road since Freedom. He is the founding president of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
I. Notes on Race 1 II. The Fire in Alabama 11 III. Mind and Countermind: Race and Place in Context 39 IV. Polyps of Prejudice 69 V. Search for identity: The Whatness of Who 91 VI. Human Values and Inhuman Systems 113 VII. Into the Multiculture 135