Up South in Akron Ohio
by Nate McDonough Illustrator, Umar Bin Hassan Author, Ed Piskor Illustrator and Bill Adler Editor
The legendary Umar Bin Hassan is best known for his work over the last six decades as one of the founding members of The Last Poets. Def Jam publicist Bill Adler appreciates Umar’s unique ability to spin a tale, particularly fond of Umar’s stories about growing up in Akron, Ohio. In response, he wrote a vividly illustrated memoir about growing up in the Rubber Capitol of the World in the Fifties, in an African-American community that made up about 30% of the total population, which was subject to the usual strictures of second-class citizenship. The irony of this racism in a northern state wasn’t lost on the locals, who used to joke about living “up South in Akron.” This comic focuses on Umar's work as a shoeshine boy on Howard Street, a/k/a Little Harlem, where the city’s Black residents congregated to play hard after working hard.
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