Boss of the Grips: The Life of James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal

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Product Details
$27.95  $25.99
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
6.2 X 1.3 X 9.4 inches | 1.35 pounds
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About the Author
Eric K. Washington has written for several national publications and has conducted walking tours for the New-York Historical Society. A licensed tour guide, he has surprised visitors with how much remains to be seen of Manhattanville, the old heart of West Harlem.
In this illuminating debut biography, historian Washington celebrates a black New Yorker who won authority and influence in a segregated economy.... He paints a vivid portrait of the bustling golden age of train travel, and makes Williams a fitting exemplar of Harlem's ambitious black middle class... The result is a rich, stirring social history of African-Americans' struggle to succeed in an unfair system.
A thoroughly researched and illuminating biography.... Washington gives a palpable sense of the myriad obstacles blacks faced.... An absorbing, fresh perspective on black history.--Kirkus Reviews [starred review]
Washington's illustrated and well-researched work will have some appeal for rail fans, but its true value is for readers interested in the social condition of African Americans in New York during this period.
An at once inspiring and cautionary new social history of Harlem and beyond in the first half of the 20th century. Mr. Washington, an independent historian, reanimates a lost world of strivers who created a protean civic, artistic and commercial society to subvert the Jim Crow bias still resilient in the most liberal city in America.... An illuminating chronicle of success against the odds... It's poignant to read all the stories of dogged advancement through deft maneuvering within a rigged system.--Edward Kosner, Wall Street Journal
Few of us will have known anything about James Williams, and in this sense Washington's book is similar to the overlooked lives featured these days in the New York Times obituary section. But as these fascinating obits tell us, these overlooked lives provide a fabulous insight into our shared history.--Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and executive director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography
Written with a curator's eye for compelling detail.... Washington does a masterful job detailing the struggles and triumphs of a family determined to make America live up to its promise of democracy.--Ginger Adams Otis, author of Firefight: The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York's Bravest