All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw

All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw

Language: English

Pages: 600

ISBN: 0226727742

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

All God's Dangers won the National Book Award in 1975.

"There are only a few American autobiographies of surpassing greatness. . . . Now there is another one, Nate Shaw's."—New York Times

"On a cold January morning in 1969, a young white graduate student from Massachusetts, stumbling along the dim trail of a long-defunct radical organization of the 1930s, the Alabama Sharecropper Union, heard that there was a survivor and went looking for him. In a rural settlement 20 miles or so from Tuskegee in east-central Alabama he found him—the man he calls Nate Shaw—a black man, 84 years old, in full possession of every moment of his life and every facet of its meaning. . . . Theodore Rosengarten, the student, had found a black Homer, bursting with his black Odyssey and able to tell it with awesome intellectual power, with passion, with the almost frightening power of memory in a man who could neither read nor write but who sensed that the substance of his own life, and a million other black lives like his, were the very fiber of the nation's history." —H. Jack Geiger, New York Times Book Review

"Extraordinarily rich and compelling . . . possesses the same luminous power we associate with Faulkner." —Robert Coles,Washington Post Book World

"Eloquent and revelatory. . . . This is an anthem to human endurance." —Studs Terkel, New Republic

"The authentic voice of a warm, brave, and decent individual. . . . A pleasure to read. . . . Shaw's observations on the life and people around him, clothed in wonderfully expressive language, are fresh and clear."—H.W. Bragdon, Christian Science Monitor

"Astonishing . . . Nate Shaw was a formidable bearer of memories. . . . Miraculously, this man's wrenching tale sings of life's pleasures: honest work, the rhythm of the seasons, the love of relatives and friends, the stubborn persiste












And Leroy Roberts went down there and got some of it.” I said, “Do what?” My money tied up in it. My labor cuttin logs—I had done more than anybody, backin my part of what I was taxed to do; takin time off my job to cut logs; ridin around the country fetchin doctors for Fry and him hurt haulin that lumber off to a white man or maybe for hisself. I got hot as the devil. Told Eph, “Well, I’m goin to break up some of that. I can’t pay my money for school affairs and they doin with it thataway. I’m

as there is in the world. The land will respond to your labor if you are given a chance to work it and a chance to learn how to work it. It’s the people here is what my trouble is. This land and nothin on this land goin to get up and do me no harm but a person. I’m a country-raised fellow, all of my born days, and I love the country. But I likes a get-up and a pleasure trip to other parts. And the trip I was given, to go to Philadelphia and to go from there to the state of New York, that boy of

stays on if it gives em satisfaction for me to leave and I stays on because it’s mine. V One year there on the Jenks place I done away with three foxes. I started out to the barn one Sunday mornin and just as I stepped out the house, Josie’s hens come a flutterin, tryin to walk on their toes and flyin, half-flyin out of the swamps, tryin to get back to the henhouse. I hurried to the lot and got to where I could see a durn fox runnin them chickens right up to the wire fence where the lot

place. And there, regardless to my dealins with Mr. Tucker, I begin to prosper good and heavy. I had learned a rule for my life workin with Mr. Reeve—I could make it anywhere by workin and tendin my own business. I was able to advance myself because I never made under five bales of cotton—made five bales the first year I rented from the Reeves; next year I made six; next year I made eight—with one mule and no help to speak of. Cotton picked up the second and third years to between fifteen and

children first thing; then I was goin to drive on down to the carbox at the depot and load me a load of hulls and meal. Had my cotton bodies on my wagon— I went on into Mr. Sadler’s store and there was a big crowd in there. The store was full of white people and two or three colored people to my knowin. And there was a crippled fellow in there by the name of Henry Chase—Mr. Sadler had him hired for a clerk, and several more, maybe three or four more clerks was in there and some was women clerks.

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