When The Sport of the Gods opens, the Hamilton family is doing relatively well. They have stable jobs and good reputations as servants for a wealthy Southern family—but they also have little sense of how tenuous their existence has become. When money goes missing, the supposed victim points a finger at patriarch Berry Hamilton, and Berry is sentenced to ten years of hard labor. In response, Berry’s wife, Fannie, and his two children, Joe and Kit, migrate to New York City. Their hope is that the great city of the North will provide them with a fresh start, but the reality is much different, and much more dire…
Published in 1902, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s unsparing novel sounded an early alarm about the insidiousness of racism and the enduring biases of our criminal justice system. The Sport of the Gods is a vivid, vibrant portrait of life in Harlem on the cusp of the Great Migration.
Revised edition: Previously published as The Sport of the Gods, this edition of The Sport of the Gods (AmazonClassics Edition) includes editorial revisions.