Friday, September 4, 2020

the last book I ever read (Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay, excerpt five)

from Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay:

Dorsey Flagg was not in the least agitated about the attempt to oust him from the Hands to Ethiopia committee. When Piexota told him of Newton Castle’s threat and the opposition to his membership, he declared that he was not worried and that no intrigue of unscrupulous Communists could scare him to resign or prevent him serving the cause of Ethiopia. Aside from their personal friendship, Peixota desired Flagg to serve on the committee precisely because he could be influential in allying the reluctant intelligentsia to support the Hands to Ethiopia organization. Even without his actually doing anything, the name of Dorsey Flagg on the committee meant a lot. His father had been a prominent Republican office-holder, a friend of Frederick Douglass and also of Booker T. Washington; a maternal uncle was a well-known bishop of the African Methodist Church. And so besides being a college professor, Dorsey Flagg was of real importance in those Aframerican circles that cherished every item, even the dead straws of traditional value. And although he was called a rough-neck intellectual on account of his propensity often to imbibe too much and show the effects of it, he was nevertheless welcome in exclusive Aframerican circles. However, he had drawn the fire of the Communists and the powerful Popular Front because, in an article widely publicized in the colored press, he defended some students who were formerly Soviet-minded but had come out against the Soviet Dictatorship and the Communist International. And worse, he declared that Leon Trotsky was a ruthlessly honest man and one of the greatest intellects of his time, even though he did not partake of his views.

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