The Context of White Supremacy
hosts the final study session on Leanita McClain’s
posthumously published A Foot In Each World
. McClain was an extraordinarily skilled black journalist in the 1980’s. She had essays published in the Chicago Tribune
and The Washington Post.
She consistently used words to reveal how White Supremacy impacted black people. She committed suicide in May of 1984 at the age of 32. Her suicide note illustrates the degree to which White Supremacy assailed her mental health. She wrote: “Do not try to pull me back into this world. I will never live long enough to see my people free anyway.” A Foot In Each World is a collection of her poetry and essays that was edited by her former husband and journalist Clarence Page
. Studying her work chronologically offers insight on her evolving thoughts on Racism as well as her personal sorrow. It seems her fear of being rejected or vilified by other black people was a regular source of agitation. She also seemed to harbor hopes and heartache over a few “Good Whites.” Last week we covered her articles which detailed the dynamics of black fear of police
– McClain wrote this essay during the reign of Chicago Police commander Jon Burge’s
reign of terrorism against black citizens. McClain also shared a powerful essay detailing her father’s moment of “dignity” confronting a White Supremacist who cautioned a White Woman about entering a train car full of niggers.