Abstract

In Spring 2010, a manuscript version of Ralph Ellison's unfinished second novel, Three Days before the Shooting, was finally published. Written over the course of more than forty years and running to 1,100 pages, the novel not only has a great deal to tell us about Ellison's craft and his approach to the civil rights movement; it also speaks eloquently to traditions of leadership on American race relations stretching from the days of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass through the rise of Martin Luther King, Jr., and, ultimately, Barack Obama.

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