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On Saturday, May 14, the Riverside Church Book Club will discuss The Man Who Lived Underground by Richard Wright. He wrote this book in the mid-1940s. — a pivotal moment in African American history. He lived in New York City at the time, while three major waves of what is now called the Great Migration was taking place, in which six million Black people left the South to resettle in other parts of the country. As an acclaimed author, he witnessed the rise in police brutality as the demographics of New York changed and the riots of 1935 and 1943 erupted. All of this took place while thousands of African Americans were being lynched throughout the country and while the passage of an anti-lynching bill was nowhere in sight.
To call attention to this crisis, Wright created Fred Daniels, the main character of The Man Who Lived Underground, who was brutalized by rogue police officers, into a false confession, then imprisoned until he escaped underground, to steal for survival. When he returned to confess his stealing so that others would not be forced into false confessions, he was killed by the same police officers who had framed him to cover their crime. Publishers at the time would not publish Wright’s book, considering it too gruesome. It was not published until 80 years later when the current Anti-Lynching Bill was yet to be passed.
On Saturday, May 14, The Riverside Church Book Club will be discussing this book. – at a time when a reported 13% of the U.S. population are African American, yet they are three times more likely to be victims of police killings than any other ethnicity and 1.3 times more likely to be unarmed. Ninety-Nine percent of such murders are not prosecuted.
About Tunde Aboyade-Cole
Moderator: Professor Tunde Aboyade-Cole. For almost four decades, he taught in higher education and served in senior roles in the private sector. He was a Senior Proprietary Equity Trader and LLC Member at Worldco LLC and at Assent LLC. He founded and served as CEO of CMIS Group, a Lagos, Nigeria-based premier financial advisory and strategy consulting firm. Currently he serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Chartered Capital LLC, a private equity and real estate investment firm, and is on the part-time faculty of Brooklyn College where he teaches Finance. He is also the chairperson of The Men’s Class of The Riverside Church in New York and a member of the advisory board of ICAP at Columbia University.