Tag: race

  • To Speak the Truth in Bombingham

    To Speak the Truth in Bombingham

    John Archibald is almost my exact contemporary. Same age. White cis male. Southern. Methodist. A man who deals in words, though he’s an Alabama newspaperman who won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his work in The Birmingham News while my main public output are sermons these days. What Archibald has done in his […]

  • Glorious Excess: S.A. Cosby and the Future of Southern Fiction

    Glorious Excess: S.A. Cosby and the Future of Southern Fiction

    S.A. Cosby knows that he’s prone to excess. He told The Guardian as much in an interview last year: “I write long sentences. I like similes (maybe too much, according to some reviewers). I like to write esoterically. I pontificate and wax poetic in the middle of gunfights. That’s my style.” –S.A. Cosby In his […]

  • How Memory Lingers: Clint Smith’s How the Word is Passed

    How Memory Lingers: Clint Smith’s How the Word is Passed

    The year my grandfather was born, twenty-one people were lynched and no one heard a sound. The trees died and the soil turned over and the leaves baptized all that was left behind. (273) The fact that Clint Smith is also a poet does not make his recent book an easy read. How the Word […]

  • An American Journey: Gayle Jessup White’s Reclamation

    An American Journey: Gayle Jessup White’s Reclamation

    Gayle Jessup White’s journey is an American journey. An award-winning broadcast journalist and the current Public Relations and Community Engagement Officer at Monticello, White’s life has been marked by the gradual discovery of her roots in the much larger story of the country. It’s a journey she chronicles in her new book Reclamation: Sally Hemings, […]

  • #3 – My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson – 2021 Best Reads

    #3 – My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson – 2021 Best Reads

    Moving back to my old hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia in the summer of 2021, I was aware that a lot had changed since I left 16 years ago. No book chronicled and processed those changes better than the debut collection of stories by Charlottesville writer Jocelyn Nicole Johnson. My Monticello, particularly the included novella with […]

  • The Heartlands Best Reads of 2021 –#10 On Juneteenth

    The Heartlands Best Reads of 2021 –#10 On Juneteenth

    The end of the year is approaching quickly so it must be time for the Heartlands Best Reads list. It’s been a good year for reading, even with a move and shift in environment. This is the fifth year for this list. A quick reminder of the criteria for making this list: writing with a […]

  • #8-North Toward Home-Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    #8-North Toward Home-Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    Another memoir at #8–Willie Morris’s North Toward Home, written in 1967. I read this in the summer of Black Lives Matter and there are plenty of jarring moments as Morris describes growing up white in segregated Mississippi. But he makes it out, first to Texas and then to New York City, and when he does […]

  • #9 – The Yellow House–Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    #9 – The Yellow House–Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    Sarah Broom earned rave reviews in 2019 with The Yellow House. It’s a memoir of one Black family’s experience in New Orleans East, built around the frame of a shotgun house that did not survive Katrina. It’s a dreamy sort of book, and by that I mean elusive. But the storytelling and the characters are […]

  • The Unseen Skeleton That IS the Closet—Reading Caste

    The Unseen Skeleton That IS the Closet—Reading Caste

    “With an old house, the work is never done, and you don’t expect it to be. America is an old house.” (15) 2020 has been the year for a lot of divisive debates, but one of the most interesting for students of history has been the one about dates. Is the United States fundamentally a […]

  • Reading The Sound and the Fury in 2020

    Reading The Sound and the Fury in 2020

    In 1929, William Faulkner had a keen sense that it was all falling in of its own weight. When he published The Sound and the Fury, now recognized as an American classic, it confused folks more than wowed them. The first section, written from the perspective of Benjy Compson, the intellectually-challenged son of a white […]