George Samuel Schuyler (1895-1977) was an essayist, novelist, and journalist for The Pittsburgh Courier, known for his unapologetic conservative and assimilationist views concerning race relations. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Schuyler grew up in Syracuse, New York. The author ascended from a long line of free blacks, some of whom, he claimed, had participated in the Revolutionary War. This heritage appears to have contributed to a sense of pride and confidence Schuyler possessed and articulated throughout his literary career. Schuyler’s conservative leanings and active participation in the anti-Communism campaigns of the McCarthy era provoked controversy among African Americans who sometimes considered Schuyler not just an iconoclast, but a “traitor” (1220). Yet, Schuyler is heralded to this day for his literary contributions to the developing racial politics of the 20th century.
Schuyler’s novel, Black No More cast a satirical, yet critical eye on the preoccupations of race and color consciousness that Schuyler observed within and without the black community. The novel’s protagonist, Dr. Crookman, was “a black man who has devised a process for the blanching of dark skins, the tale is a trenchant commentary on race relations in America but cuts as mercilessly against blacks as it does against whites” (Gates et al. 1220). Though Black No More is chiefly considered by literary historians as an early 20th century satire, Schuyler’s novel heralds the early stirrings among African American writers to engage the themes of Science Fiction and futurism to construct trenchant social critique. continue reading