One of the first epithets that many European immigrants learned when they got off the boat was the term "nigger"--it made them feel instantly American. But this is tricky magic. Despite his racial difference and social status, something indisputably American about Negroes not only raised doubts about the white man's value system but aroused the troubling suspicion that whatever else the true American is, he is also somehow black.
-- Ralph Ellison, in Time, 1970
I wanted to restore the language that black people spoke to its original power.
-- Toni Morrison, in New Republic, 1981
Scip: Well, things is gettin' wusser.
-- E. C. L. Adams, "Murder vs. Liquor"
Most standard guides and histories of American writing omit all notice of Dr. Edward Clarkson Leverett Adams, author of Congaree Sketches ( 1927) and Nigger to Nigger ( 1928). If mentioned at all, generally his books are consigned to a footnote or parentheses, in which he often is listed with other South Carolina writers of the 1920s: DuBose Heyward, Julia Peterkin, and Ambrose Gonzales. Sometimes it is noted that all these writers were white and that all of their principal works centered around the lives of unlettered blacks. Heyward Porgy ( 1925) and Peterkin Scarlet Sister Mary ( 1927) are usually the works selected by literary historians as the touchstones for this period and place. Both won Pulitzer Prizes ( Heyward for Porgy in its dramatic form), and the opera based on Porgy has become a sainted perennial. Gonzales's anecdotes about life