Castro does a Harlem shuffle


How a voucher scheme brought hope to Harlem

Tom Paine, in The Rights of Man (1792) is usually acknowledged as the first advocate of vouchers, but the idea was first floated in modern times by Milton Friedman in 1955. His idea was modelled on the US government's veteran's programme, which allowed soldiers who had fought in the Second World War to receive a fixed sum to spend at any educational institution of their choice. Why not, Friedman asked, apply the same idea to schools? He believed it would allow new schools to be founded to serve the children of black and low-income parents.


In the 1920s, James VanDerZee was Harlem's official portraitist. By 1980, he was the most revered black photographer in America. Mark Sealy tells his life story

Nadine Radford: the barrister they call `sir'

The profession's profile has changed, but old habits die hard, as one m odern lawyer told Paula Nicolson

Basement museum of childhood to be sold

One of the last great doll collections in private hands is to be sold on Friday because the owner, who exhibited them as Aunt Len's Doll and Toy Museum, is in failing health.

BOOK REVIEW / The unruly swamps: Natasha Walter on the brilliant career of a remarkable American poet, Adrienne Rich

In The Fact of a Doorframe (Norton), a reissued volume of selected poems, Adrienne Rich has changed some early works from their original version. In the Fifties, Rich was happy to see the pronoun 'he' as an expression of the universal point of view. But now he is a she. That may sit more comfortably with her inspiring feminism, but Rich will never be able to bring all her different voices into line.

Black and blue: Across the Atlantic, black comedy is big business. One New York comedian tells James Rampton that it's time Britain listened up

Ian Edwards, the black American stand-up comedian, was perplexed when he performed at the Edinburgh Festival last year: 'It was bizarre - there were no black people, and no summer. I didn't expect to have to wear my winter clothes all summer long.'

BOOK REVIEW / When the long sleep ends . . .: Hugo Barnacle on the novel that took Henry Roth more than half a century to write: Mercy of a Rude Stream: A Star Shines Over Mt Morris Park Henry Roth Weidenfeld & Nicholson pounds 14.99

HENRY ROTH published his first novel in 1934. This month he published his second. In between times he seems to have been variously a toolmaker, woodman, teacher, duck farmer and psychiatric nurse, while struggling with one of the most protracted known cases of writer's block in history.

Black leaders clash over anti-Semitism: Jesse Jackson has taken the lead in condemning the inflammatory rhetoric of the Nation of Islam group

THE Rev Jesse Jackson and several other black American leaders are calling for a halt to the anti-Semitic rants of members of the black Muslim group Nation of Islam, led by Louis Farrakhan.

The world's greatest movie on a subconscious screen: In bed with Oscar Hijuelos

OSCAR HIJUELOS won the Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for 'The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love'. His latest novel, 'The 14 Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien', is published by Hamish Hamilton. Hijuelos is 42 and lives alone in New York City.

BOOK REVIEW / . . . and Mr Little became Mr Cool: Malcolm: The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America - Bruce Perry: Element, pounds 9.95

MALCOLM was sharp. Malcolm was hip. Malcolm was almost as cool as JFK. It was not only the children of the ghetto who were hooked on his style. Ivy League college kids were drawn to him. They sat-in, rode freedom buses, some were beaten, a handful died in the struggle to desegregate the South. But it was the charismatic Malcolm, advocating separatism, not Martin Luther King, advocating integration, who was in serious demand on the lucrative campus circuit. According to Bruce Perry, Malcolm's first proper biographer, only Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters' crooked boss, commanded bigger fees than the National Spokesman for the Nation of Islam.

FILM / Tongue in radical cheek: Cousin Bobby (PG) - Jonathan Demme (US); The Power of One (12) - John G Avildsen (US); Straight Out of Brooklyn (15) - Matty Rich (US); Knight Moves (18) - Carl Schenkel (US); White Sands (15) - Roger Donaldson (US)

A swanky Park Avenue apartment, sometime in 1970. At an exclusive soiree thrown by Leonard Bernstein, the Black Panthers are nibbling daintily on balls of Roquefort cheese rolled in crushed nuts and making small talk with the creme de la creme. And the then- journalist Tom Wolfe is there with his notebook, carefully recording a curious phenomenon he calls 'radical chic'.

INTERVIEW / Harlem nights: Sheila Johnston talks to Ernest Dickerson, the director of Juice and Spike Lee's longstanding cinematographer

Last year's remarkable harvest of films on black subjects was no flash in the pan: currently in the US charts are two comedies, Eddie Murphy's Boomerang and Mo' Money, and Bebe's Kids, an animated feature with black characters. And among the year's earlier hits was Juice, another of the recent films portraying the troubled youth of African-America: in it, four friends living in Harlem struggle with variable success to escape from the apparently inevitable option, a short life of crime.
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