Boston: The Jordan and More Press, 1923. Hardcover. x, 222p., frontis-portrait of Pickens, foreword, preface, lightly-worn and soiled, ownership signature on fep, otherwise very good second edition, enlarged, third printing stated, in brown cloth.
Pickens' life---the first forty years the subject of this autobiography---reflects the multiple directions open to African American political movements in the early 20th century. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale (1904), he taught at Black colleges until 1920, when he became the NAACP's field secretary, a post he was to occupy for more than two decades. At first perceived as a supporter of the Atlanta Compromise, he broke with Washington's policies in 1905, writing for the Niagara Movement;s VOICE OF THE NEGRO and becoming what Langston Hughes described as "one of the most popular platform orators in America." While he had moved close to Garveyism, he denounced the Garvey movement after he became NAACP field secretary and a contributing editor of the Associated Negro Press. He worked with Earl Browder on anti-imperialist projects, but broke with the Party over its handling of the Scottsboro case. He was finally forced out of his post by Walter White when Pickens opposed the NAACP's "Two Front" policy during World War II. He then worked for the government, selling some $1 billion worth of war bonds to the African American community.