I am learning/have learnt so much from your wonderful book... and the knowledge has a particular emotional resonance. Let me try and explain--
I am fairly well read in African American literature, but when I read Obama's Dreams it felt like he kicked open doors and windows onto things I'd barely intuited, or had no idea were there. He made me understand the African American experience better than anyone I had read to date. Why? (After all, Zora Neale Hurston, T Morrison, F Douglass etc are no amateurs!) I concluded that part of it was to due to Obama's immense literary gift, but the decisive factor (coupled with that) had to be that he is half white, and so could lead me through this partially darkened house I was in and knew which doors to open to let in the light. He knew the layout of this ancient house I inhabited, a house with secrets and vanishings and concealed doorways-- the layout of 'my' mind, as well as the African American perspective (which must surely be aching to find and light these barely lit places).
What I get from Black Genius is, absolutely, an extension and broadening of this luminous experience of being guided (Obama's book is personal, of course, though it has huge resonance. Yours is a tome-- it's breathtaking in it's breadth, and weighty, it seeks to capture a world, and it does-- it has authority.). I feel like you're with me in this house of the mind saying "Look over your head-- there's a skylight there!" and opening it to let in brilliant sunshine. Or "Behind you there's a door bricked in" and you take an axe to it and show me another view on a garden. It's exhilarating, it's wonderful, it's informative, but most of all I feel something is restored to me-- to us-- and I must thank you for that. This is, of course, reclaimed history. It reads, also, like a kind of war/resistance piece--how the figures connected and communicated is a fascinating underworld, an almost conscious resistance to the ongoing white 'supremacism' mentality in our culture.
I must get to work. Thanks so much Dick. You've given me such treasures. My words don't do justice to the book which is a 'capo lavoro'.