In February 2017, I had the pleasure of speaking with the lovely folks at Google Boston for Black History Month. I shared the last 215 years of my family's story and read Chiasmus: A Narrative of Ascent, a piece that I workshopped at THREAD at Yale in 2016. Well, I'm very excited to share that Chiasmus will be in this literary anthology! :)
Editor's Introduction // Pre-order here ($16.00 USD)
"Chicago is built on a foundation of meat and railroads and steel, but its identity long ago stretched past manufacturing. A city of opportunity from the get-go, it continues to lure new residents from around the world, and from across a region rocked by recession and deindustrialization. But the problems that plague the Belt don’t disappear once you get past Gary. In fact, they’re often amplified. Chicago’s glittering downtown towers stand in sharp contrast to the struggling south and west sides. A city defined by movement that’s the anchor of the Midwest, bound to its neighbors by a shared ecosystem and economy, Chicago’s complicated – both of the Belt and beyond it. Which makes it a perfect subject for a book.
Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology, the ninth book in our series of city anthologies shines a light on the common ground Chicago shares with the Rust Belt through essays, memoir, journalism, fiction, and poetry."
Edited by Martha Bayne, Senior Editor, Belt Publishing // Cover image by Tony Fitzpatrick, design by Sheila Sachs
In addition to researching in Tufts University's hsitory department, I'm also part of the team behind the Boston African American Freedom Trail.
The trail was spearheaded by Prof. Kendra Field at Tufts' Center for the Study of Race & Democracy. Inspired by the scholarship of the late Tufts Professor Gerald R. Gill (1948-2007), the project aims to develop African American historical memory and inter-generational community across greater Boston.
The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy (CSRD) is devoted to conceptualizing the intersection between race and democracy at the local, national, and international levels. On this score, it focuses on the pivotal contributions of ordinary activists, iconic anti-racist political activists, intellectuals, elected officials, and cultural workers. Based on the belief that history informs contemporary struggles for democracy and public policy, the Center seeks to participate in a public conversation about the very meaning of racial, social, and political justice.
The Center's mission is to promote engaged research, scholarship and discussion, with a focus on the ways in which issues of race and democracy impact the lives of global citizens.
I've had the pleasure of being Prof. Kendra Field's research assistant for the last year. I dug into the histories of about sixty African American and Indigenous communities in Oklahoma for her upcoming book Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War (Yale Press, 2018).
Pre-order here (£35.00 / $45.00 USD)
Following the lead of her own ancestors, Kendra Field’s epic family history chronicles the westward migration of freedom’s first generation in the fifty years after emancipation. Drawing on decades of archival research and family lore within and beyond the United States, Field traces their journey out of the South to Indian Territory, where they participated in the development of black and black Indian towns and settlements.
When statehood, oil speculation, and Jim Crow segregation imperiled their lives and livelihoods, these formerly enslaved men and women again chose emigration. Some migrants launched a powerful back-to-Africa movement, while others moved on to Canada and Mexico. Their lives and choices deepen and widen the roots of the Great Migration. Interweaving black, white, and Indian histories, Field’s beautifully wrought narrative explores how ideas about race and color powerfully shaped the pursuit of freedom.
The cover image will be updated soon. Here's a sneak peek.