Alice Randall’s present day novel is a genre-bending collection of profiles of the dazzling residents of Black Bottom, the commercial and residential coronary heart of Detroit’s Black community within the generation spanning from the Great Depression to the early 1960s. Characters are discovered through the eyes of real-existence emcee, theater director, newspaper columnist and dapper man about city Joseph “Ziggy” Johnson (1913–1968). From his deathbed, Ziggy recalls friendships with some of the city’s most extremely good characters, some widely known and a few not.
Black Bottom Saints is an interesting and beguiling study the storied city at the peak of its pomp. Randall suggests us a warm, thriving, tightly woven community of “breadwinners,” or auto enterprise employees who fled the Jim Crow South and became shoppers of Detroit’s glittery club scene. Also part of the novel’s milieu are artists which includes poet Robert Hayden, actor Tallulah Bankhead and theater director Lloyd George Richards, as well as United Auto Workers negotiator Marc Strepp, boxer Joe Louis, NFL Hall of Fame shielding lower back Dick “Night Train” Lane and enjoyment industry figures which include Sammy Davis Jr. And Motown Records’ finishing school legend Maxine Powell. The very last profile is of “Colored Girl,” whose identity is not quite clear. Perhaps she is Randall herself. Each bankruptcy ends with a cocktail recipe in tribute to the profiled person.
This is a e-book to study at your leisure, as you may a set of quick stories. Each profile offers captivating perception into the characters that made Black Bottom a hub for glamour, subculture and creativity.