56 pages 1 hour read

Claude Brown

Manchild in the Promised Land

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1965

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Chapters 15-18

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 15 Summary

While playing piano one night in the auditorium of his night school, Claude meets a student named Judy Strumph. She is white and Jewish, and Claude describes her as friendly and interesting but not especially attractive. They talk about music over coffee, and Claude becomes increasingly drawn to her. They arrange to go to a jazz concert together. Although Judy insists that her parents are “broad-minded” about race, Claude insists on meeting her at the school before the concert rather than picking her up at home (327).

While eating dinner before the concert, Judy tells Claude that she wants her mannerisms and presentation to please him and asks him to tell her if she should change anything about herself. Claude is deeply moved by this and admires Judy’s poise and self-confidence, especially compared to more immature girls he has dated in the past. He does not want their date to end, and while he is anxious about being with a white woman, feels like this is something new and good.

On their next date, Claude takes Judy to Greenwich Village to hear some folk singers. He calls the area “a showcase for interracial couples” and tells her he has noticed a strong, natural attraction between Black people and Jewish people (331).