Let me introduce myself, Neil J. Smith, by first introducing my book, “On The Ropes,” a boxing story, a love story and a ghost story, unlike any other: It is, as wrote T.S. Eliot, “The pastness of the past, but its presence too.” Set against the backdrop of the boxing ring, “On The Ropes” is, generally speaking, a tale of the domestic turbulence which, along with the Vietnam war, rocked the late ’60’s to its foundation, turning the sociopolitical spectrum up-side down and on its head.
It is a story of inner-city Blues, of black northern youth’s heartened by the historic success of the Southern based Civil Rights Movement, took revolution on as a call to arms with the outcry “Seize the time” on their lips. And gave rise to The Black Panther Party, in light of the greater Civil Rights Movement. In conjunction with the afore said, On The Ropes relays the story of The Free Speech Movement which helped galvanize radical white students, identifying their cause with the struggle of inner city blacks, on University Campuses nationwide.
Among other things, it is a story of the complexity of interracial relations during a time of war and civil strife. In a word, On The Ropes explores the subterranean depths of the late ’60’s.