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  • Excavating the jumble of history--Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter, the Black Panthers in Los Angeles in...
Excavating the jumble of history--Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter, the Black Panthers in Los Angeles in the 1960's, and J. Edgar Hoover.

There are plenty of places where history has gotten the truth very wrong. Fiction can help with that or hinder it. Shakespeare's deliciously villainous hunchback may have destroyed the reputation of Richard III for all time, while Josephine Tey's marvelous murder mystery, Daughter of Time, probably converted more people to Richard III the good king, Henry VII, the sidewise crab little prince murderer than anybody else, though versions are still being written that have our Dickon III plotting against one brother, drowning another and delighting in slaying his golden-haired nephews.

I fear that it will take a lot to undo the shabby history of The Other Boleyn Girl (sorry, Ms. Gregory, I have enjoyed reading your books, but your history is whacked on this one, and frankly, I have no idea how you created a timorous, trembling virgin out of the young woman whom the French King and his courtiers previously called "The English Mare," because she had been "ridden" so often.)

When I was researching the vast canvas of The Color of Safety, I found people who I felt had been neglected by history or where we have gotten things plain wrong, or where, as I find myself often saying these days, "It's complicated." Much mores than the current historical record--and even more, our collective memories-- would have us believe. 

I was talking Tuesday with a gifted writer/film producer friend, Lorie Marsh (http://forward-marsh-go.tumblr.com). Lorie, who knows how to inspire, stared straight at me, called me an academic (which I am not) and said I should blog about my research for The Color of Safety. 

I have to run right now, but next time, I will write more about a young man named Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter, the head of the L.A. street gang, The Renegades, known as The Mayor of the Ghetto. Carter is complicated, woven in collective memory into the tangles of J. Edgar Hoover's misinformation and subversion campaign, "COINTELPRO." I am eager to begin to set the record straight about Bunchy Carter, a man who was murdered young, but not before trying to create positive change in South Central Los Angeles.

Let's be friends

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