The New Yorker


How a Fictional Racist Plot Made the Headlines and Revealed an American Truth

DECEMBER 31, 2017

In 1968, the African-American novelist John A. Williams published his third novel, “The Man Who Cried I Am,” a bitter, beautiful, and feverish depiction of the failed promises of the civil-rights era. The novel, which was a best-seller and went through six printings, narrates the lives of two writers, one of whom, Max Reddick, is a journalist whose career path resembled Williams’s own. Like Max, who had served in the Army during the Second World War...