- Hardback | 233 pages
- 142.24 x 205.74 x 25.4mm | 226.8g
- 30 Nov 1971
- New York, United Kingdom
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"These people know only three places to go, Heaven, Hell and Baltimore" - or Rochester or New York or Washington. Southern blacks, inalterably Southern as well as inescapably black, who've had only the short end of the butt in the dying tobacco country of North Carolina. Towns like Mayflower or Marmaduke or Lickskillet. From here one million a year make the unwilling migration north on the Gulf Coast-Chickenbone Special which they pick up in Kingstree. Sometimes their bodies are sent back to this junction in a box, like Omega who was stabbed or Sammie Joe who had an argument over a beer can. Mr. Walls has told their collective story in alternating sequences - these are the people who "can't live in the city or make a living at home." Say Donnie who gave his chairbound father a last shave before "taking a ride tomorrow," or Washington and Creola Alston who finally made it as "staygrants" in Washington. There is a short introduction by Robert Coles but Mr. Walls' book is self-explanatory and self-sustaining. In the hands of a skillfully unintrusive recorder, this ongoing exodus "to the near-certainty of nothing" is an eloquent documentary. (Kirkus Reviews)