Claude Brown Anatole Broyard - Essay

Anatole Broyard

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

["The Children of Ham" concerns] a group of young black people ranging in age from 14 to 22, who live as a "family" in a condemned tenement in upper Harlem, a shell of a building owned, we are told, by the City of New York. They heat the building with gas that has never been turned off and need never be paid for. Their electricity is tapped from the still-functioning hall lights. Its use is never questioned either. Water still runs, just as mysteriously, in the house. There are rats in the halls "as big as cats," and "some of the apartments have garbage piled up in them five feet high, and that makes opening the door a very difficult task for those whose nasal passages are sufficiently insensitive to permit entry."...

(The entire section is 762 words.)