The Big Boxcar
by Alfred Maund
University of Illinois Press, 1957
Paper: 978-0-252-06754-9
Library of Congress Classification PS3563.A876B54 1999
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.54

Five men and a woman, all African Americans, huddle in the rattling darkness of a boxcar headed north, away from a brutal South, seeking freedom and opportunity. They are joined by a white intruder whose own quest puts them all in great danger. Like Chaucer's pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales, each of these travelers has a story to tell, and these stories—of humor and humiliation, of prostitution and pride, of love and murder—unfold in the course of the journey. They reveal the lives and secrets of the tellers and give this transient community self-respect and solidarity as it hurtles toward arrest or worse.
 The Big Boxcar, written from a totally black perspective by a white author, bears witness to the structural racism of a social order that sets ordinary people of different colors against each other to the disadvantage of all. Alan Wald's introduction documents Maund's life of activism and his uncompromising commitment to social emancipation.
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