Coming through the Fire

Surviving Race and Place in America

Coming through the Fire

Book Pages: 168 Illustrations: Published: March 1996

Author: C. Eric Lincoln

Contributor: Henry Louis Gates Jr.

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, General Interest > Biography, Letters, Memoirs

In Coming through the Fire, prominent scholar and writer C. Eric Lincoln addresses the most important issue of our time with insights forged by a lifetime of confronting racial oppression in America. Born in a small rural town in northern Alabama, raised by his grandparents, Lincoln portrays in rich detail the nuances of racial conflict and control that characterized the community of Athens, personal experiences which would lead him to dedicate his life to illuminating issues of race and social identity. The contradictions and calamities of being black and poor in the United States become a purifying fire for his searing analyses of the contemporary meanings of race and color.
Coming through the Fire, with its fiercely intelligent, passionate, and clear-eyed view of race and class conflict, makes a major contribution to understanding—and thereby healing—the terrible rift that has opened up in the heart of America. Lincoln explores the nature of biracial relationships, the issue of transracial adoption, violence—particularly black-on-black violence—the “endangered” black male, racism as power, the relationship between Blacks and Jews, our multicultural melting pot, and Minister Louis Farrakhan.Without sidestepping painful issues, or sacrificing a righteous anger, the author argues for “no-fault reconciliation,” for mutual recognition of the human endowment we share regardless of race, preparing us as a nation for the true multiculture tomorrow will demand.
Readers familiar with Lincoln’s earlier groundbreaking work on the Black Muslims and on the black church will be eagerly awaiting the publication of Coming through the Fire. Others will simply find C. Eric Lincoln’s personal story and his exploration of survival and race in America to be absorbing and compelling reading.


Coming Throught the Fire is an important book. C. Eric Lincoln has written brilliantly about the African America experience (especially religion) throughout a long and productive career.” — Walter T. Howard , Georgia Historical Quarterly

“Lincoln’s Coming Through the Fire is a worthy sequel to James Baldwin’s angry The Fire Next Time. Time will tell whether the country is worthy of his beautiful book.” — Jim Sleeper, Washington Post Book World

“The first consciousness of race comes early. It is not something you learn in the same way you learn about stinging caterpillars or poison ivy. You do not have to learn it from some overt experience. It is a pervasive awareness, an insidious thing that seeps into the soil of consciousness, sending its toxic tendrils deep into the walls of the mind. It is like a mold, a blight. If you scrape it away here, you find it mockingly virulent there. Once the concept of race takes root in the mind, it is there to stay. You cannot run away from it because it is inside you. . . . In the South, where I was raised, the pervasive awareness of race was helped along by a series of ‘lessons’ learned in the process of growing up. These lessons were sometimes impromptu, and often impersonal, but they were never unplanned or unintended. They were always there in the arsenal of race and place waiting for the most effective moment for inculcation.” — Excerpt from Coming through the Fire


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

C. Eric Lincoln (1924–2000) was, at the time of his death, William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor Emeritus of Religion and Culture at Duke University. His widely acclaimed publications include The Black Muslims in America; The Black Church since Frazier; Race, Religion, and the Continuing American Dilemma; and, with Lawrence H. Mamiya and published by Duke University Press, The Black Church in the African American Experience. He has also written a novel, The Avenue, Clayton City, now published in paperback by Duke University Press, and a collection of poems, This Road since Freedom. He is the founding president of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Table of Contents Back to Top
I. Notes on Race 1

II. The Fire in Alabama 11

III. Mind and Countermind: Race and Place in Context 39

IV. Polyps of Prejudice 69

V. Search for identity: The Whatness of Who 91

VI. Human Values and Inhuman Systems 113

VII. Into the Multiculture 135
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Outstanding Book on the subject of human rights in North America

Additional InformationBack to Top
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1736-4
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