Books: Becoming Something: The Story of Canada LeeWhy I am recommending this book:
Canada Lee - ever heard of him? Exactly. Until recently I had never heard of Canada Lee either, but he made a tremendous contribution to our culture before he was blacklisted during the McCarthy era. He was left broke and broken hearted. He died in 1952 at the age of 45.
This book is a study in Civil Rights and in what it means to sacrifice.
A successful prizefighter whose career ended abruptly, Lee went from being the lord of the ring to the toast of the town when he discovered acting. Arguably one of the greatest black actors of his time, Lee's name today is a hardly mentioned in the annals of Broadway and Hollywood stardom, yet Lee broke new ground in his relentless pursuit of roles that would defy the stereotypical portraits of blacks as toadies and lackeys. An indefatigable champion of human rights, Lee's passion for justice and equality drew the attention of the HUAC, where such liberal causes were synonymous with communism. His placement on the dreaded blacklist ended Lee's career, and his early death is often attributed to the McCarthy witch hunt. Indeed, Lee's story is as tragic as those he portrayed on stage: a meteoric rise, a precipitous fall, and betrayal by people he trusted. Smith wondrously brings to life a man whose impact on American theater and culture was far too great to be allowed to lapse into obscurity.