Paul L. Brady, A Certain Blindness: A Black Family's Quest for the Promise of America

Article excerpt

Paul L. Brady, A Certain Blindness: A Black Family's Quest for the Promise of America

Paul L. Brady in 1972 became the first Black man to become a Federal Administrative law Judge. This book is part autobiography, part family history, and part legal brief about discrimination in the United States. Brady, the grandson of a slave, and the great grandson of a slave owner (his great grandmother was a slave), looks at the accomplishments of some of his family members and in the process plots out some of the trials and tribulations that he and his family have overcome.

Brady traces his family on both sides back to slaves in Texas and Georgia, and devotes considerable discussion to the most distinguished of his ex slave ancestors, his great uncle, Bass Reeve, who served as a deputy marshal in an Arkansas court in the 1870s. In the last part of the nineteenth century his mother's family moved to Kansas, in part because they saw greater opportunities for economic advancement. His father's family had moved to Arkansas so that his widowed grandmother could be closer to her brother. His father later moved to Missouri where he met Brady's mother who having completed her teacher's training in Kansas was working. The two young newlyweds of the middle 1920's decided to head north for better economic opportunities and eventually settled in Flint, Michigan. Though his father could find employment in the auto industry and worked through the depression, he was never able to break the race barriers into some of the better jobs and ended up as a janitor. …