Three Days Before the Shooting

Here’s the beginning of Ellison’s brilliant unfinished novel, just released by Modern Library and edited by John F. Callahan and Adam Bradley:


Three days before the shooting, a chartered planeload of Southern Negroes swooped down upon the District of Columbia and attempted to see the Senator. They were quite elderly: old ladies dressed in little white caps and white uniforms made of surplus nylon parachute material, the men dressed in neat but old-fashioned black suits and wearing wide-brimmed, deep-crowned panama hats which, in the Senator’s walnut-paneled reception room now, they held with a grave ceremonial air. Solemn, uncommunicative, and quietly insistent, they were led by a huge, distinguished-looking old fellow who on the day of the chaotic event was to prove himself, his age notwithstanding, an extraordinary powerful man. Tall and broad and of an easy dignity, this was the Reverend A.Z. Hickman–“better known,” as one of the old ladies proudly informed the Senator’s secretary, “as God’s Trombone.”

2 thoughts on “Three Days Before the Shooting

  1. Hi Paul – I see you still have my blog listed on your blog. rad. perhaps you don’t remember me, perhaps you do not.

    in any case, cheers. keep up the good writing.

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