Mississippi to Madrid: Memoir of a Black American in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

James Yates, Author Open Hand Pub. $9.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-940880-20-7
``If you were Black in Mississippi, lightning would surely strike home sooner or later,'' writes Yates of his youth early in this century. For him, it struck as a mass lynching, impelling him to leave for Chicago and, later, New York. Far from home, Yates determined to ``stand and fight, not flee''; with 100 other black Americans, he battled fascism in Spain in 1937. Though well worth telling, his story fails to reckon with the complexities of history or aspects of personal chronology (the fate of Yates's wife and children in Chicago goes unmentioned). But if uncertain in details, the author persuasively suggests the ``overwhelming sense of kinship'' shared by the anti-fascists. And while his affection for war may seem paradoxical in one who mourned the wounds of violence early, more disturbing is the fact that only in battle could Yates escape the racism of his own country. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
Hardcover - 183 pages - 978-0-940880-19-1
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