Supporting this pragmatism, he found ready opponents among fellow black Americans, whom he criticized as racially defining and reducing the wider experience of blacks to victimization. He denounced gangsta rap as “Birth of a Nation with a Reverse Rhythm,” the Rev. Al Sharpton as “Joker,” the leader of the Nation of Islam Louis Farakan as “crazy,” Nobel laureate Tony Morrison as “American as PT Barnum,” and Alex Haley. , the author of “Roots”, as “opportunistic”.
In contrast, he honored his intellectual mentors, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and Albert Murray, who saw with their lights beyond the conventions of race and ideology as they saw the contribution of blacks as an integral part of the American experience.
Mr Crouch said he had largely learned to write by swallowing books as a child and then relying on innate lyrical sensitivity, which he expressed in both poetry and prose. He writes about jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie:
“He rose from the position of a strange fish to a stellar surfer riding the high, highly curved water of a trend, sinking into the position of those wonders that are taken for granted, but periodically returning to the view, dripping with new wisdom, enticing like others. it followed the thin boards of art and entertainment that those famous in jazz have to ride, on top of the trains of public-taste trains, waving our entire blues in a fickle brine where they are forever in danger. “
Mr. Crouch attended, though never graduated, two community colleges, but his growth as a writer led to teaching positions at Pomona, Pitzer, and Clermont colleges, all in Clermont, California, east of Los Angeles, where he is known as a charismatic poet and English and theater teacher in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (In Pomona, one of his students was George K. Wolfe, who became artistic director of the New York Public Theater.)