Book cover with photograph of Emile Roux

Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif

From Goodreads

The book discusses the giants of germ theory and does so in a way that makes these scientists approachable as real men with real emotions. It must have been a groundbreaking book when it first came out in the 1920s. It is amazing how many researchers and physicians from my generation read and were impacted by this book.

*****

An international bestseller, translated into eighteen languages, Paul de Kruif’s classic account of the first scientists to see and learn about the microscopic world continues to fascinate new readers. This is a timeless dramatization of the scientists, bacteriologists, doctors, and medical technicians who discovered the microbes and invented the vaccines to counter them. De Kruif writes about how seemingly simple but really fundamental discovers of science—for instance, how a microbe was first viewed in a clear drop of rain water, and when, for the first time, Louis Pasteur discovered that a simple vaccine could save a man from the ravages of rabies by attacking the microbes that cause it.

This book was not only a bestseller for a lengthy period after publication, it has remained high on lists of recommended reading for science and has been an inspiration for many aspiring physicians and scientists.

*****

I’ll put it simple. I love microbiology. It is fascinating how much you can learn from something so little. This book came to me thanks to my fist Microbiology class “General Microbiology” which was my favorite. It is a simple book with all the mayor microbiology discoveries, told in a very light and interesting way.

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Cover with Abbott and paperboys

The Lonely Warrior: The Life and Times of Robert S. Abbott

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In May 1905 Robert S. Abbott started publishing the Chicago Defender. The paper attacked racial injustice, particularly lynching in the south. The Defender did not use the words “Negro” or “black” in its pages. Instead, African Americans were referred to as “the Race” and black men and women as “Race men and Race women.” Many places in the south effectively banned the paper, especially when, during World War I, Abbott actively tried to convince southern blacks to migrate to the north. Abbott managed to get railroad porters to carry his papers south and he ran articles, editorials, cartoons -even train schedules and job listings to convince the Defender’s southern readers to come north. The “Great Northern Migration,” as it was called in the Defender, resulted in more than one million blacks migrating north, about 100,000 of them coming to Chicago. The Defender was passed from person to person, and read aloud in barbershops and churches. It is estimated that at its height each paper sold was read by four to five African Americans, putting its readership at over 500,000 people each week.

Son of ex-slaves, Abbott passed from small-town obscurity to national preeminence, due neither to great wealth nor hereditary status, but by sheer character, determination and imagination. He was a crusading journalist, who ultimately developed into a national leader, and, in the process, became a millionaire. As a newspaper editor, he influenced and molded the opinions of millions of Negroes in the United States, and therefore his career is of unique interest—indeed, his extraordinary achievement is a triumphant American success story.

The roots of greatness should be sought in a man’s formative years. Until now, most Negroes who have achieved anything noteworthy seemingly have no traceable background—notably Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver—and like Topsy seem merely to have “growed up.” But Abbott’s accomplishments represent continuity of family enterprise and perseverance. However, the purpose of this volume is not at all genealogical. Essentially, this is a biography of a people, for Abbott’s life and times spanned the most triumphant period of the Negro in the United States. Born three years after the promulgation of the Emancipation Proclamation, he lived to see and chronicle the spectacular progress of his people.

In the burgeoning economic times of the 1920s, with hundreds of new products and the growth of advertising, the Defender became an economic success and Abbott became one of the first African American millionaires.

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Book Cover with Photo of Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony: The Woman Who Changed the Mind of a Nation by Rheta Childe Dorr

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If you or your students want to download directly from this web site to  an Amazon device, you can use the mobi format below. When you find the mobi file  in ES File Explorer, it will then open in the Kindle app on your tablet. If you download an epub file to your Amazon tablet, it will also open if you have an app such as Overdrive on your tablet. The Kindle app offers an excellent reading experience to start with. Overdrive may need some customization of font size.

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Susan B. Anthony was a suffragist, abolitionist, and women’s rights activist who fought tirelessly for the right to vote for women. Dorr’s biography paints a vivid picture of Anthony as a determined and passionate leader, who faced opposition and ridicule but never wavered in her commitment to the cause. The book traces Anthony’s life from her childhood in a Quaker family in Massachusetts to her years as a teacher and then as a full-time activist. Readers will see Anthony’s years of work lobbying legislatures, organizing conventions on women’s rights, speaking across the country, and producing the newspaper called the Revolution.

It covers her involvement in the abolitionist movement, her partnership with Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the fight for women’s suffrage, and her eventual arrest and trial for voting illegally in the 1872 presidential election.

She also explores the personal sacrifices Anthony made, including never marrying or having children, to devote her life to the fight for women’s rights. Susan B. Anthony: The Woman Who Changed The Mind Of A Nation is a powerful and inspiring tribute to a woman who played a pivotal role in shaping American history. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of women’s rights and the struggle for social justice.

He Wouldn’t Be King: The Story of Simon Bolivar by Nina Brown Baker

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Reviews:
“A finely proportioned narrative.” The New York Times

“Worth its weight in gold. A warm dramatic story of a man whose career was one of the most astonishing and colorful the world has known.” Parents Magazine

SIMÓN BOLÍVAR, hailed as Liberator by the people of South America, occupies the same place in their affections that George Washington does in ours. An aristocrat and a wealthy man like Washington, he risked position, wealth, and life itself to free South America from the unhappy rule of Spain. Like Lincoln in his love for the common man, he brought about the abolition of slavery a generation before that institution was ended here.

HE WOULDN’T BE KING is the first modern biography of Bolívar in English for young people, yet history provides few more exciting tales than the march across the Andes of Bolívar’s small but dauntless army; it can offer few stories to compare in color and surprise with Bolivar’s courageous career.

Nina Brown Baker tells Bolívar’s story fully and vividly. She has not only so portrayed the ideals of the man that we are the better for knowing him, but she has also given us the background that enables us to understand both Bolívar and the South America of today.

More from the New York Times, New Books for Younger Readers, March 15, 1942.

By Ellen Lewis Buell. HE WOULDN’T BE KING. The Story Of Simon Bolivar. By Nina Brown Baker. Illustrated by Camilo Egas. 306 pages. New York: The Vanguard Press.

SIMÓN BOLÍVAR was a hero not merely through force of circumstances and period. He was truly cast in a heroic mold and should be known wherever greatness of spirit as well as deed is revered. His life is of special significance to us of the United States, not only be­cause of our growing sympathy with South America, but because it was from our own Revolution and our first leader, Washing­ton, that he drew much of the in­spiration to win freedom for his own part of the Americas.

It was a life so full and so dra­matic that there is plenty of room for both the fine biogra­phies for young people which this year has brought forth. It would indeed be difficult, and is unnec­essary. to make a final choice be­tween Elizabeth Waugh’s “Simón Bolivar: A Story of Courage,” previously reviewed in this department and Nina Brown Baker’s “He Wouldn’t Be King,” which has won the 1941 Intra-American Award annually pre­sented by the Society for the Americas. Mrs. Baker’s is per­haps more dramatic in its pres­entation of an essentially dra­matic life, and certainly there is a twinkling humor to throw into perspective some of the lighter aspects of a career and a strug­gle which inevitably took on at times a certain comic opera fla­vor, which really emphasizes the size of the task performed.

This would be good reading if only for the sketches of the col­orful figures which surrounded Bolívar: the picturesque, incredi­ble Páez: the dashing and equally incredible Manuela Sáenz, his eccentric tutor, Rodriguez; the loyal and charming Irishmen who fought under him. A host of such friends, and enemies too. come to life, but all these are properly dominated by the Liber­ator himself, and as the pattern of his life is unfolded in a finely proportioned narrative so is the greatness of his vision and of his achievement.

From a reviewer on Amazon:

“He Wouldn’t be King: The Story of Simon Bolivar,” by Nina Brown Baker is a delightful, very easy to read book that should be required reading in every American High School. Certainly, every High School student across the United States is well aware of the importance of George Washington but what about Simon Bolivar? Or Jose de San Martin for that matter? These men are great Western Hemisphere military generals responsible for freeing most of South America from strict colonial rule?

Bolivar, often affectionately called the Liberator, freed Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia from Spanish oppression. San Martin freed Argentina and Chile. To this end, Bolivar had a boyish hero worship of Washington and regularly drew inspiration from the North American revolution. An added bonus of this book is that the author does an excellent job describing Bolivar’s critical relationships with other dynamic Generals, particularly Antonio Jose de Sucre, Francisco de Paula Santander and Jose Antonio Paez. The narrative also documents the enormous importance of British and Irish volunteers who joined Bolivar and the struggle against Spanish rule.

The narrative starts with Bolivar’s privileged childhood, his intellectual growth and finally his decision to lead his people to liberty. Bolivar is a great man, who frees the black man from slavery 46 years before Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 Emancipation Proclamation. He also refused to be King and chose instead to be his nation’s first President…like he beloved George Washington.

Baker downplays his many romances and the tuberculosis that eventually killed him. Nevertheless, the text is meticulously researched, well-written and objective. Although this book was published in 1941, it is still very relevant today and would be an excellent choice for a High School history book report or detailed term paper. The text is also complete with many beautiful black and white illustrations. Highly recommended.
Bert Ruiz

Thurgood Marshall facing right

Thurgood Marshall: From His Early Years to Brown by Michael D. Davis and Hunter R. Clark

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Editorial reviews:

“Michael Davis and Hunter Clark have crafted a thoughtful, carefully researched and focused biography.” —USA Today

“Well-written, informative and lively.” —People

“Michael D. Davis and Hunter R. Clark offer a masterfully written tale of an American legend.” — Gannett News Service

“Filled with the same fire, passion and humor that drove Marshall’s life, Thurgood Marshall is a revealing portrait of a pioneering lawyer.” —National Black Review

This ebook edition is the first half of the 1992 print edition of “Thurgood Marshall: Warrior at the Bar, Rebel on the Bench.” This new edition covers Thurgood Marshall’s youth, education, and the legal strategies he used, and the cases he argued leading up to the Brown v. Board of Education decision. The reviews above are from the print edition.

Publisher’s Note:
Chapter 1 describes Thurgood Marshall’s place in history.
Chapter 2 explains the challenges Marshall and the attorneys of the N.A.A.C.P were to face as they built the precedents that led to the Brown decision.
Chapter 3 is about Marshall’s childhood in Jim Crow Baltimore, and is probably the best starting point for high school students who want to begin with a straight-forward story of the life of a courageous leader. This chapter lends itself to writing assignments such as “Compare your public school years to what Thurgood Marshall experienced in Baltimore.” Not only will students have to read the chapter to complete the writing assignment, but there will be space for their own voices in the assignment. They may find this comparison more interesting than a book report.
Chapter 4 describes his years in Howard University Law School, and the work of his mentor, Charles Hamilton Houston, who saw how the law school and its graduates could fight racial injustice.
Subsequent chapters describe the work Marshall did on the cases leading up to the Brown decision, his civil rights work in the South, and his push for fair treatment of Black G.I.s during the Korean War.

Cover showing Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall: His Triumph in Brown, His Years on the Supreme Court

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Editorial Reviews:

“Michael Davis and Hunter Clark have crafted a thoughtful, carefully researched and focused biography.” —USA Today

“I highly recommend Thurgood Marshall by Mike Davis and Hunter Clark. This impressive book captures the sweeping drama and courageous struggles that have filled Thurgood Marshall’s life and career. The story of Justice Marshall is that of one of the greatest Americans in the twentieth century. Davis and Clark provide a compelling portrait of Marshall’s immense humanity and integrity in this fine biography.” —Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta.

“Thurgood Marshall is a giant of a man at a time when giants are scarce and desperately needed. This wonderful biography takes his measure.” —(Rev.) Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

“Davis and Clark have given us an engagingly written and conscientiously researched biography of a twentieth-century icon. It should be widely read and much discussed by all who care about the large, principled issues Justice Marshall’s life embodies.” —David Levering Lewis, author of W. E. B. Dubois: Biography of a Race

“Michael B. Davis and Hunter R. Clark have written an interesting and informative biography of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall directed toward a general audience. The current work, with its fluid, readable style, reflects the authors’ backgrounds in the popular press, where both have published extensively.”—Mississippi Quarterly

This ebook edition is the second half of the 1992 print edition. This new edition covers Thurgood Marshall’s victory in Brown, the resistance to the Brown decision, and his years on the Supreme Court. The reviews above are from the print edition of 1992 titled, Thurgood Marshall:Warrior at the Bar, Rebel on the Bench.

 

A pianist on the cover of the Weary Blues

The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes

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As you may know, Amazon has changed to the epub format to use with the Send-to-Kindle program. A great feature of the Send-to-Kindle program is that the file will go directly to your Library folder, and not have to be searched for in ES File Explorer or another app. If you use the mobi format in Send-to-Kindle, you will now get an error message. You can see instructions about Send to Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle/email.

If you or your students want to download directly from this website to an Amazon device, you can use the mobi format below. When you find the mobi file in ES File Explorer, it will then open in the Kindle app on your tablet. If you download an epub file to your Amazon tablet, it will also open if you have an app such as Overdrive on your tablet. The Kindle app offers an excellent reading experience to start with. Overdrive may need some customization of font size.

Download mobi file here.

Here is an excerpt from the cover flap of a recent print edition. On a personal note, I found that the students in my Writing through Literature classes, enjoyed the poetry of Langston Hughes a great deal. I liked his politics in his protest poems, and the beauty of his visual images in many other poems.

The cover flap with a slight updating.
NEARLY A HUNDRED YEARS AFTER ITS FIRST PUBLICATION,, this edition of The Weary Blues reminds us of the stunning achievement of Langston Hughes, who was just twenty-four at its first appearance. Beginning with the opening “Proem” (prologue poem)—”I am a Negro: / Black as the night is black, / Black like the depths of my Africa”—Hughes spoke directly, intimately, and powerfully of the experiences of African Americans at a time when their voices were newly being heard in our literature. As the legendary Carl Van Vechten wrote in a brief introduction to the original 1926 edition, “His cabaret songs throb with the true jazz rhythm; his sea-pieces ache with a calm, melancholy lyricism; he cries bitterly from the heart of his race … Always, however, his stanzas are subjective, personal,” and, he concludes, they are the expression of “an essentially sensitive and subtly illusive nature.” That illusive nature darts among these early lines and begins to reveal itself, with precocious confidence and clarity.

Cover of Caroling Dusk

Caroling Dusk An Anthology of Verse by Black Poets of the Twenties

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Caroling Dusk: An Anthology of Verse by Negro Poets is a 1927 poetry anthology that was edited by Countee Cullen. It has been republished at least three times, in 1955, 1974, and 1995 and included works by thirty-eight African American poets, including Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, James Weldon Johnson, and Claude McKay. The anthology also includes biographical sketches of the poets whose work is included in the book.

From the original publisher’s description:
“In editing ‘Caroling Dusk,’ an anthology of verse by Negro poets, Countee Cullen has assembled a timely and interesting collection which, even in this day of many anthologies, can show a definitive reason for existing. Not only does this book allow for more than the casual appreciation generally provided by an anthology, but it assembles in one volume much splendid verse not heretofore contained in any compilation. Beginning with Paul Laurence Dunbar, this anthology gives vivid and characteristic selections from the work of poets of established reputation, such as James Weldon Johnson, Jean Toomer, Jessie Fauset, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Claude McKay, and, finally, Langston Hughes, whose naive and mordant genius has recently been so universally acclaimed.”

Photo of James Weldon Johnson

The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man by James Weldon Johnson

Epub or Mobi?
The epub format below is for your Apple and Android devices and in one case for Amazon devices. As you may know, Amazon has changed to the epub format to use with the Send to Kindle program. A great feature of the Send to Kindle program is that the file will go directly to your Library folder, and not have to be searched for in ES File Explorer or another app. If you use the mobi format in Send to Kindle, you will now get an error message. You can see instructions about Send to Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle/email.

So if you are using this ebook on Apple, or Android devices, or in the Send to Kindle program, you can download this epub file below.

If you or your students want to download directly from this web site to an Amazon device, you can use the mobi format below. When you find the mobi file in ES File Explorer, it will then open in the Kindle app on your tablet. If you download an epub file to your Amazon tablet, it will also open if you have an app such as Overdrive on your tablet. The Kindle app offers an excellent reading experience to start with. Overdrive may need some customization of font size.

From Reviewers on Goodreads:

I have to admit, for a good while I had no idea that this was a novel. It is so convincing as an “autobiography” that I believed this to be Johnson’s own story. Some of it is, from what I glean off the back cover blurb. Whatever the case, it is a book that is immediately engrossing; a remarkably evocative time capsule that whisks and immerses the reader into the world of early 20th-century America…

…The book is a vibrant and fulsomely descriptive evocation of black American life in the early 20th century and is at the same time an exuberant celebration of black culture and of the often unremarked contributions to the world of black Americans and their ancestors.

The novel is honest, flavorful and lovingly rendered, and even with all that has come to pass it remains relevant.

I loved nearly every word of it.

********

This is a book where a lot of things happen one right after the other and yet it didn’t strike me as episodic. It flowed very naturally. Overall, I’m very happy to have read this classic and would recommend highly to everyone. The curiosity and amusement which led to my picking up the book was anthropological in nature but I also ended up just enjoying a very good and interesting story. This really is an outstanding book.

********

James Weldon Johnson wrote two autobiographies, this fictional one of a character referred to only as the Ex-Colored Man, which he published anonymously in 1912, and Along This Way, relating his own remarkable life and career, published only four years before his tragic death in 1938, when the car he was riding in, driven by his wife, was hit by a train.

The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man is his most famous book and it recounts the life of a biracial man born in a small town in Georgia just after the Civil War. He benefits from his black mother’s nurturing and guidance, his absent white father’s financial support of them both, and his innate intelligence and musical abilities. His discovery at school that he is not white shocks him and casts a shadow over his future. He can “pass” for white, however, and the main theme of the book is his struggle over whether to identify as white or black.

Johnson was born in 1871 in Jacksonville, Florida; unlike the Ex-Colored Man, who planned to attend Atlanta University but never did, he graduated from there in 1894. Among other achievements are his admission to the Florida State Bar in 1897 as the first African-American to do so since Reconstruction, successful Broadway music career with his brother Rosamond, service as U.S. Consul to Puerto Cabello, Venezuela and Corinto, Nicaragua, appointment as first executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and career as professor of literature at Fisk University in Nashville and New York University.

I highly recommend this book and plan to read Johnson’s own autobiography, as well. I have to give a shout out to James K. White, whose narration of the free LibriVox audiobook I listened to was outstanding. (Here is the audiobook.)

Cover of A Long Way From Home

A Long Way From Home by Claude McKay

The epub format below is for your Apple and Android devices including Send-to-Kindle.


As you may know, Amazon has changed to the epub format to use with the Send-to-Kindle program. A great feature of the Send-to-Kindle program is that the file will go directly to your Library folder, and not have to be searched for in ES File Explorer or another app. If you use the mobi format in Send-to-Kindle, you will now get an error message. You can see instructions about Send to Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle/email.

If you or your students want to download directly from this web site to an Amazon device, you can use the mobi format below. When you find the mobi file in ES File Explorer, it will then open in the Kindle app on your tablet. If you download an epub file to your Amazon tablet, it will also open if you have an app such as Overdrive on your tablet. The Kindle app offers an excellent reading experience to start with. Overdrive may need some customization of font size.

Download mobi file here.

Claude McKay’s long odyssey from Jamaica to Harlem, Europe, North Africa, Russia, and back to America is chronicled in this autobiography of the most militant writers to emerge from the New Negro movement following World War I. Whether in the intellectual circles of Harlem and Greenwich Village, the docks of Marseilles, or the inner circles of post-revolutionary Russia, McKay’s contact with such figures as Frank Harris, Max Eastman, George Bernard Shaw, W.E.B Dubois, James Weldon Johnson, Charles Chaplin, H.G Wells, Sinclair Lewis, Trotsky, and Radek all served to advance those views which would be so widely accepted in the 1960—Black Pride, self-determination, and the necessity for Black culture to define itself. Source: Amazon.


From Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_McKay

Festus Claudius “Claude” McKay OJ (September 15, 1890[1] – May 22, 1948) was a Jamaican-American writer and poet. He was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

Born in Jamaica, McKay first travelled to the United States to attend college, and encountered W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk which stimulated McKay’s interest in political involvement. He moved to New York City in 1914 and, in 1919, he wrote “If We Must Die”, one of his best known works, a widely reprinted sonnet responding to the wave of white-on-black race riots and lynchings following the conclusion of the First World War.

A poet from the first, he also wrote five novels and a novella: Home to Harlem (1928), a best-seller that won the Harmon Gold Award for Literature; Banjo (1929); Banana Bottom (1933); Romance in Marseille (written in 1933, published in 2020), a novella, Harlem Glory (written in 1938-1940, published in 1990), and Amiable With Big Teeth: A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem (written in 1941, published in 2017).

Besides these novels and four published collections of poetry, McKay also authored a collection of short stories, Gingertown (1932); two autobiographical books, A Long Way from Home (1937) and My Green Hills of Jamaica (published posthumously in 1979); and Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940), consisting of eleven essays on the contemporary social and political history of Harlem and Manhattan, concerned especially with political, social and labor organizing. His 1922 poetry collection, Harlem Shadows, was among the first books published during the Harlem Renaissance and his novel Home To Harlem was a watershed contribution to its fiction. His Selected Poems was published posthumously, in 1953. His Complete Poems (2004) includes almost ninety pages of poetry written between 1923 and the late 1940s, most of it previously unpublished, a crucial addition to his poetic oeuvre.

McKay was introduced to British Fabian socialism in his teens by his elder brother and tutor Uriah Theodore, and after moving to the United States in his early 20s encountered the American socialist left in the work of W. E. B. Du Bois and through his membership in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) — the only American left-labor organization of the era that was totally open to Negro members (as he comments), continuing the tradition of the populist People’s Party of the previous generation. In the course of the teens he became acquainted with the writings of Marx and the programs of a variety of activists. As a co-editor of The Liberator magazine, he came into conflict with its hard-line Leninist doctrinaire editor Mike Gold, a contention which contributed to his leaving the magazine. In 1922–1923, he traveled to the Soviet Union to attend a Congress of the International, there encountering his friend Liberator publisher Max Eastman, a delegate to the Congress. In Russia, McKay was widely feted by the Communist Party. While there, he worked with a Russian writer to produce two books which were published in Russian, The Negroes of America (1923), a critical examination of American black-white racism from a Marxist class-conflict perspective, and Trial By Lynching (1925); translations of these books back into English appeared in 1979 and 1977 respectively; McKay’s original English texts are apparently lost. In the Soviet Union, McKay eventually concluded that, as he says of a character in Harlem Glory, he “saw what he was shown.” Realizing that he was being manipulated and used by the Party apparatus, and responding critically to the authoritarian bent of the Soviet regime, he left for Western Europe in 1923, first for Hamburg, then Paris, then the South of France, Barcelona and Morocco.

After his return to Harlem in 1934, he found himself in frequent contention with the Stalinist New York City Communist Party which sought to dominate the left politics and writing community of the decade. His prose masterpiece, A Long Way From Home, was attacked in the New York City press on doctrinaire Stalinist grounds. This conflict is reflected in Harlem: Negro Metropolis and satirized in Amiable With Big Teeth. His sonnet sequence, “The Cycle,” published posthumously in the Complete Poems, deals at length with McKay’s confrontation with the left political machine of the time. Increasingly ill in the mid-40s, he was rescued from extremely impoverished circumstances by a Catholic Worker friend and installed in a communal living situation; later in the decade, he converted to Catholicism.

See more about Claude McKay at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_McKay