Gerald Early is the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also serves as the Director of the Center for the Humanities. His latest book is This Is Where I Came In: Black America in the 1960s, published last year. (April 2004)


Great Adventurer

Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin

by John D'Emilio

Time On Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin

edited and with an introduction by Devon W. Carbado and Donald Weise
Bayard Rustin was a striking example of the social reformer. He was black, Quaker, homosexual, pacifist, a labor organizer, a tactician, and a dandy—an odd combination of social, biological, and psychological traits and inclinations that perhaps could only have led to a career as a political activist that allowed him to fulfill both his sense of morality and his flair for self-dramatics.

The Wonder Boy

Such latter-day disfigurements leave out All mention of those older scars that merge On any riddled surfaces about. —Weldon Kees, “A Good Chord on a Bad Piano” Muhammad Ali, as a result of his touching, or poignant, or pathetic, or tragic (take your pick) appearance at …