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August 9, 2005
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v2.1 Reference

Trumbull Park

Frank London Brown’s powerful debut novel, originally published in 1959, fictionalizes the real-life ordeals of the first black families to integrate Chicago’s Trumbull Park public housing project in the 1950s. Protagonist Buggy Martin tells the first-person story of moving with his wife, Helen, and two children from a rotting tenement on the South Side to the new development, where the family is besieged by angry whites.With honesty and humor, the richly textured narrative chronicles how the small group of black tenants at Trumbull Park endure the strain of living with racial violence: the endless danger of bombings and shattered windows, filthy insults, callous attention from police, and forced rides in armed convoys to and from work and the market. Until, that is, the day Buggy and a friend refuse police protection and walk home together through the white mob.

About the Author

FRANK LONDON BROWN (1927–1962) was born in Kansas City, Missouri and grew up in Chicago. An associate editor of Ebony, he also wrote the novel The Myth Maker, as well as numerous articles and short stories published in Down Beat, Negro Digest, Chicago Review, Ebony, and Southwest Review. Brown also worked as a machinist, bartender, loan interviewer, postal clerk, union organizer, and jazz singer, and he was the first writer to give public readings of his short stories to jazz accompaniment. MARY HELEN WASHINGTON is Professor of English at the University of Maryland at College Park. RICHARD YARBOROUGH, editor of the Northeastern Library of Black Literature, is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles.


“Brown has probed the psychology of people under fire . . . The real drama in this novel is not found in what white people tried to do to their Negro neighbors; it comes from the self-restraining heroism in the Negroes.” —R. L. Duffus, New York Times Book Review

“How, in the end, determination and decency seem about to triumph, is the theme of this story, unfolded in terms of characters terribly alive and real.”—Langston Hughes, New York Herald Tribune Book Review

“[This story] will shame white Americans . . . but it is not grimly accusatory. That is one of Brown’s great achievements, that hatred did not guide his pen.”—Alan Paton, Chicago Sunday Tribune

9781555536282 : trumbull-park-brown
Paperback / softback
436 Pages
$22.95 USD

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