BARAKA, Imamu Amiri (LeRoi Jones), & Fundi (Billy Abernathy).
In Our Terribleness.
(Some elements and meaning in black style).
First edition, first printing. Presentation copy from both the author and photographer, inscribed on the title page: “for Junius, Peace & Power [ankh symbol] Imamu” and “For Brother Junius, a Very Brilliant Brother, sifa ote mtu weusi! [a Swahili expression, meaning: ‘all praise to the Black man’] Fundi”. An important association copy: we believe “Junius” to be Junius Williams, a nationally recognised US attorney and Civil Rights champion, more recently author of Unfinished Agenda: Urban Politics in the Era of Black Power (2014). “In Our Terribleness praises African Americans for surviving oppression and remaining ‘beautiful throughout.’ The book is filled with pictures of common folk doing common things: riding the bus, walking down the street, standing on the corner. The accompanying prose assigns a sense of grandeur and divinity to the images as if to project common folks as gods and goddesses. The book even contained a removable mirror with the phrase ‘In Our Terribleness’ inscribed on it. The mirror was flexible so that one’s image can be changed and altered. The reader could see his or her own ‘terribleness'” (Scot Brown, Fighting for US: Maulana Karenga, the US Organization, and Black Cultural Nationalism, NYUP 2003, pp. 148-49). There is also an interesting and glowing appraisal of the book in the Winter 2013 issue of Aperture magazine.
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Oblong octavo. Original black cloth, silver lettered spine, black endpapers, all edges grey. With the dust jacket. With the “removable mirror”, colour illustration on page 1, monochrome illustrations from photographs througout. Light creases to extremities of jacket, slight bump to top right corner. An excellent copy.