Waiting in Line at the Drugstore: And Other Writings of James Thomas Jackson

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University of North Texas Press, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 277 pages
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Jackson was a hard worker. He did construction work, house-painting, and other odd jobs, like sweeping out a neighborhood bar. He had to work hard to support his all-consuming habit - writing. Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times says that Thomas wrote "irregularly, idiosyncratically, entertainingly, personally and, above all, passionately.... His opinions, forceful but fair, were measured against a life that had never been easy but that had seemed to leave him, despite all, with a profound philosophical optimism that better days were coming." From a black perspective, Jackson's work forms a particular and important testimony, both positive and negative, about life in the United States from the 1930s through the 1970s, and about life in the Army during the 1950s. One of Thomas's friends, noted producer and playwright Ned Bobkoff, wrote upon learning of the publication of the collection: "There is an indelible connection between the Watt's Riots, the Rodney King incident - the outbreak of pain in L.A. - and the sudden renewed interest in James's work... The cycle is with us again. James had a real vision about time and place that may be the important contribution of his writing."
 

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Waiting in line at the drugstore: and other writings of James Thomas Jackson

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A black man's struggles from the Thirties through the Seventies provide the focus for this collection of essays, articles, fiction, and poetry. Jackson died in 1985 before most of his writing could be ... Read full review

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Contents

Waiting in Line at the Drugstore
3
Once Upon a Time in Houston
7
Of Roses and a Black Familys Unusual Visitor
11
Terry and Me
15
On Learning Values and People
23
Juneteenth Was Freedom DayA Long Time Ago
29
Hopeth All Things
32
In Search of Country
46
Fiction and Poetry
157
Gasthaus
159
The Party
168
Reveille
176
Shade of Darkness
184
Caravansary
200
Corporal Willoughbys Waw
207
Heavyweight
219

Wheel in the Midst of a Wheel
54
Once I Crossed the Rubicon
59
On Faith and Being Born Again
74
The Burning of the Books
78
Looking Backand Ahead
85
Awakening to a Common Sufferingand Pride
89
My AfricaIt is All This and More
92
The Day Kennedy Was Shot
96
Welfare and the Single Man
104
Not a Bad Dude
111
From the Ashes
114
Some Notes on the Frederick Douglass Writers House
120
Stars in a Black NightBeacon for a Black Dawn
128
Ned Bobkoff and Me
133
Wadsworth
147
Jean
235
Blues for Black
237
Poem From the Temple of My Mind
240
Coda 1
244
Coda 2
246
Daybreak
247
Poem for Medgar Evers
250
The Breadwinner
253
Epitaph To A Beautiful Person
255
Watts68
257
Excerpts from a play
261
Bye Bye Black Sheep
263
Act Two Scene Two
265
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Page 7 - Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

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About the author (1993)

James Thomas Jackson left Houston for the promise of Los Angeles about the time of the Watts Riots, joined Budd Schulberg's Watts Writers Workshop and began writing for the Los Angeles Times Sunday arts magazine. From a black perspective, Jackson's work forms a particular and important testimony, both positive and negative, about life in the United States from the 1930s through the 1960s. Jackson died in 1985.

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