1001 Black Men–#209

Strange things happen when you tell people you’re a professor of African American literature. Some folks make uncomfortable jokes about their bad grammar, while others share the names of some of their favorite Black novelists and poets. Upon learning that I was a specialist in U.S. Black literature, the man in this drawing quickly concluded that we were kindred spirits and immediately embarked on a 20 minute monologue of “knowledge and truth, my sister.” “We are sister and brother,” he assured me, “even though I am from Ethiopia and your are American.” He then shared with me his perspectives on religion, the environment, the prison industrial complex, Africa, nuclear energy, and Black masculinity, as well as the ways that all of these issues were being addressed by his favorite contemporary African American novel, Beloved. The main idea that I took away from this encounter? I desperately need to reread this novel.


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