According to Max Disher, an ambitious young black man in 1930s New York, someone of his race has only three alternatives: “Get out, get white, or get along.” Incapable of getting out and unhappy with getting along, Max leaps at the remaining possibility. Thanks to a certain Dr. Junius Crookman and his mysterious process, Max and other eager clients develop bleached skin that permits them to enter previously forbidden territory. What they discover in white society, however, gives them second thoughts.
This humorous work of speculative fiction was written by an unsung hero of African-American literature. George S. Schuyler (1895–1977) wrote for black America's most influential newspaper, the Pittsburgh Courier, in addition to H. L. Mencken's The American Mercury, The Nation, and other publications. His biting satire not only debunks the myths of white supremacy and racial purity but also lampoons prominent leaders of the NAACP and the Harlem Renaissance. More than a historical curiosity, Schuyler's 1931 novel offers a hilarious take on the hypocrisy and demagoguery surrounding America's obsession with skin color.