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Trinity of PassionThe Literary Left and the Antifascist Crusade$
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Alan M. Wald

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807830758

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807882368_wald

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The Agony of the African American Left

The Agony of the African American Left

(p.46) 2 The Agony of the African American Left
Trinity of Passion

Alan M. Wald

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter investigates the writings of former Communist John Oliver Killen (1916–87). It notes that in the inaugural chapters of And Then We Heard the Thunder (1963), a World War II novel, Killen's autobiographical character, the Black soldier Solomon “Solly” Saunders, finds himself trapped between two exceedingly attractive African American women. It observes that each of Solly's lovers is emblematic of the major radical political trends within the African American community at the time that the United States entered World War II. The chapter notes that African Americans in the same era increasingly had to negotiate their duty to contest racism at home with their obligations to halt fascism. It notes further that Killen' story did not cohere as a narrative during World War II, although it was clearly derived from many of his experiences and it is likely that some chapters were drafted while he was in the army.

Keywords:   Communist, John Oliver Killens, World War II, Solomon, racism, fascism, army

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