ICYMI: The Last 2 Weeks in Black Writing (6/29 – 7/12)

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– HBW was saddened by the passing of author, journalist, educator and GEMS subject John A. Williams, whose invaluable contributions to African American letters cannot be overlooked.

Houston A. Baker reminisced about his relationship with Williams, who was “NOT…an easy person to get along with” but who served as “an exemplar of what can be achieved in the creative writing life.”

Maryemma Graham reflected on the life and work of Margaret Walker on the 100th anniversary of Walker’s birth, both celebrating her accomplishments and lamenting her relative obscurity.

– Poet Claudia Rankine talked to The Guardian about the inspiration behind her collection Citizen and the power of refusing to ignore acts of covert racism.

– Slate explored Frederick Douglass’s 1852 Fourth of July speech (really given on the fifth of July), originally given to the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society of Rochester, New York.

– Poet Nikki Finney reads a beautiful original poem about the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House. The video features footage from the removal.

Ta-Nehisi Coates spoke to NPR about his new book, Between the World and Me, which addresses his son about the toll of being black in racist society. In this insightful review, Shani O. Hilton points out that Coates’s book is really about being black and male in racist society.

Dolen Perkins-Valdez spoke with Book Riot about her new novel, Balm, set in Civil War-era Chicago.

Until August 26, you can listen to live recordings of all of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle, performed by astounding vocal casts.