The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Black No More (subtitled Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Workings of Science in the Land of the Free, A.D. 1933-1940) begins with African Americans Max Disher and Bunny Brown considering the complexities of color prejudice in the United States. Max is rebuffed by a white woman at a Harlem bar after asking her to dance. The anger Max feels at this snub makes him enthusiastic about the news that Dr. Julius Crookman, an African American scientist, has devised a process that will turn black people white. Disher becomes the first person to undergo Crookman’s process. After selling his story to a newspaper, The Scimitar, for $1,000, Max heads to Atlanta to seek out the white woman who had laughed at his advance in the Harlem bar.

The novel simultaneously follows the exploits of Max Disher—who changes his name to Matthew Fisher—and the efforts of Dr. Crookman and his cohorts, “numbers” banker Henry Johnson and real estate speculator Charlie Foster, to market the process nationwide. Fisher finds work as an adviser to the Knights of Nordica, a white supremacist organization led by the Reverend Henry Givens, whose daughter Helen is the woman who rejected Fisher in New York. Crookman and partners market Black No More throughout the United States. The racial transformation of the black population leads to a breakdown of black business, philanthropic, and social uplift enterprises. Among...

(The entire section is 432 words.)