The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Culture Corner:
Black Bottom Saints and Film:
Our Boys

Nov 21, 2022

Book: Black Bottom Saints, A Novel by Alice Randall 2020

The author revisits Black Bottom Detroit, Paradise Valley and Idlewood from the late 1930s to the late 1960s by framing her book as a deathbed memoir of Joe “Ziggy” Johnson. Lots of incredible people crossed Ziggy’s path, some we know of and some we wish we had known. The novel takes us inside their lives, granting us snippets of their time. And what a time! Della Reese, Joe Louis, Billy Eckstine, Charlie Parker, just to name a few. Poets, writers, musicians, singers and of course factory workers. The book is an exuberant celebration of a time and culture.

Film: Our Boys, 2019, a ten part miniseries, streaming on HBO Max

This miniseries is a fictionalized account of actual events in Israel/Palestine in 2014. Three Jewish boys are abducted and murdered, and everyone is tense. There are cries for revenge, racist cries inciting violence. Then a Palestinian youth is abducted, murdered, and burned alive. The series focuses on the youth’s Palestinian family and how they respond to unfolding events. It also offers a inside view of the Shin Bet or the Shabak, the Israeli internal security service, as it investigates and solves the murder of the Palestine youth. And it shows the explosion in the relations between the Jewish and Arab communities. In the midst of all this, the series gives an insightful view of people’s everyday lives. More than anything, it shows the price we pay when we allow racism to divide us.