The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Lost for some fifty years, Black Empire was finally determined to have been authored by noted African American satirist George S. Schuyler. Black Empire as published in 1991 is actually two serial novels, “The Black Internationale” and “Black Empire,” that originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Courier, a black newspaper. Although published under separate titles, the two stories fit together and are appropriately collected under a single title. The original newspaper publications were edited into the novel by Robert A. Hill and R. Kent Rasmussen.

Black Empire tells of the exploits of Dr. Henry Belsidus and his efforts to construct a worldwide black conspiracy to reconquer Africa. By profession a medical doctor, Belsidus earns his living serving the needs of New York’s white upper crust. He is slowly amassing, largely by criminal means, an immense amount of wealth to finance his subversive projects. Readers encounter Dr. Belsidus through Carl Slater, a reporter for the Harlem Blade who inadvertently stumbles upon Belsidus committing a brutal murder. Belsidus captures Slater and turns him into his personal assistant. The Black Empire saga is then narrated by Slater.

“Black Internationale” tells the story of the first dramatic steps toward the execution of Belsidus’ plans. Slater discovers that Belsidus has been thorough in his planning. With spies and operatives everywhere,...

(The entire section is 597 words.)