Madness in America: Part III

Mar 29, 2018

TAA 0013 – C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood continue their discussion on madness in America. Is it a kind of madness to focus so exhaustively on race? Why do we so often return to race as a way to categorize ourselves in America?

C.T. WEBB 00:00 [music] Good afternoon, good morning or good evening and welcome to the American Age Podcast. Today our setup is a little bit different. I’m actually talking to you from Yosemite Valley and Steven and Seph are back in New York. And we’re doing something a little bit different with the format for those of you that listen. I know a few of you do. We’re actually going to be tightening up the episodes a little bit. So we’re going to be shooting for 30, 35 minutes on the long side, between 30 and 35. But we’re going to come back to topics and revisit them if we feel like they’ll be fruitful topics for discussion. So today we’re coming back to the topic that Steven and I discussed last week, which was Madness in America, and that was Madness in America Part 2. And Seph listened to that and our podcast on it and has some things to contribute and so we thought we’d start the conversation there. So Seph if you’d like to lead us in?
S. RODNEY 01:10 Right. So I suppose after listening, or rather while listening to the discussion that took place between Travis and Steven, I had a series of questions that occurred to me. But one of them, which might be one of the more provocative ones is, is thinking about race, or rather thinking in terms of race– and I want to add “all the time” or “primarily”– a kind of madness. Partly I want to argue both sides. There’s a part of me that thinks– actually, here’s a good story. When I was in college, I was a English Literature Major. And frankly speaking, I was a bit more advanced than a lot of the undergrads. I was in the Honors Program. And I got to take sort of advanced classes. So I ended up sometimes spending a lot of time with the Masters’ students. And I also worked in the writing center. And there’s this large quote, and I forget who it’s attributed to, but it was written out on this sort of colorful placard right at the entrance of the writing center and where a lot of the grad students worked and hung out. And on it– let me see if I can remember it clearly– “There is no racial hatred because there are no races. Feeble thinkers, thinkers by lamplight, invent and rekindle book-learned races which impartial travelers and loving observers look for in vain in the order of nature. The universal identity of man is obvious– oh, evident– in his victorious something and his turbulent appetite. The soul equal and eternal emanates from bodies different in shape and color.”
Now here’s the story, I remember one day walking into the lab and there being this older grad student there, I forget his name, but I often saw him and we kind of both looked at the placard at the same time– I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but the quote, and he says, “Yeah. I really don’t know what that means. I have no idea.” And some guy next to him was like “Yeah. What? What is that? There’s no racial hatred.” So part of me just rejected that. I just thought what kind of life are you leading that you can’t understand that. That it makes sense to me to say that we look in vain in the order of nature to see race, right? And yet at the same time– and this is why I’m troubled by this question– to not see race seems to me to be a kind of naivete that you just can’t get away with. No. Right?
C.T. WEBB 04:39 Yeah. Or a kind of privilege. I mean that is sort of the side of the argument that a lot of times will get leveled against types of appropriation, is that it’s a privilege to be able to dawn sort of different racial modes in one’s cultural expressions. So Stephen, what do you think about Seph’s sort of ambivalent feelings about race? So on one hand, it’s concrete and real for a lot of people that suffer from its consequences. And then on the other hand, you look in nature and vain to find it.
S. FULLWOOD 05:17 No. Absolutely. I share his ambivalence and I also feel like there are group experiences shared by people, that people have maybe misnamed as race, the cultural groups– I don’t like using the word ‘tribe’ necessarily– ethnic groups, and these sorts of things where one shares that. I feel that it depends on the audience, and it depends upon– doing away with race, means doing away with a lot of things that we’ve become comfortable with when identifying the Irish do this, and the Africans– because no one talks about Africans, except outside of Africa. So there’s country’s ethnic groups. They just go, “You know, I went to Africa. That great country.” [laughter] And so–
C.T. WEBB 06:11 There’s a whole lot of countries there. Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD 06:12 That’s right.
S. RODNEY 06:13 Extremely.
S. FULLWOOD 06:13 Yeah. And work on those countries.
S. RODNEY 06:13 Not just Wakanda.
S. FULLWOOD 06:16 Not just Wakanda [laughter]. Oh my God. I love Wakanda. But you won’t find me there. So I feel like as I think about anti-colonial work, and I also think about what it means to divest yourself of that kind of thinking, and still want to have an insightful, thoughtful, engaged critique that doesn’t absolve you from not dealing with how we see race in this country. We’re looking at, not just Donald Trump, but we’re basically looking at the history of the country, of the US, in terms of how race was defined and how Whites became White. And so this is–
S. RODNEY 06:55 Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD 06:55 –it’s empowering. Nell Painter writes about the history of White people in America and a number of other people. But when Seph was reading, the last thing I’ll say is that James Baldwin and his tape that’s saying that “all men are brothers, and if you can’t take it from there, you can’t take it anywhere.” Now mind you, the gendered language, of course. But I love that thing because I was thinking “Wow. What a transformational idea.” Well how transformative this idea could be if people really believed that. You know? And maybe some of us do. I mean, I try to look at you as a human first and present myself as a human. But I also know that sometimes when I’m being talked to or talked down to–
S. RODNEY 07:38 Mm-hmm.
C.T. WEBB 07:39 Sure.
S. FULLWOOD 07:40 — I’m like “Okay. So what I do here? Do I play the game or do I run around this guy’s back, tap him on the shoulder and go “No. I’m really over here. I’m really you. Oh, no. You don’t believe in humanity.” What do I need to do here, so? I share your ambivalence, Seph. I think that’s a great word.
S. RODNEY 07:57 I mean– if I can jump in– one of the people who supervised my dissertation, Vincent Winbush, he’s done a lot of work on race and the way that religion in the United States, Christianity, in particular. The bible, in particular, got used in the shaping of African American communities. And one of the places where he and I disagreed regularly, even though I feel like he’s on solid intellectual ground is the idea of– so like take up something like Black Power or the Black Power Movement or something like that– that does a lot of good for a lot of people that feel disempowered by a system that because of the way that they represent themselves or just the way they look– the color of their skin being the most obvious way. It’s a way for them to feel, to have a voice, to engage in that community. And Steven and I talked about this last week. So it’s one thing to say I have no problem entering into, at least intellectually, that space that looks out at the world– and maybe I try to do some emotional work along with that– but looks out at the world and sees sort of our common humanity. But when you live in a social universe, when you live in a system that from your birth categorizes you, reads certain scripts onto you, onto your body, onto your choices, then at that stage to say “Okay. Wait. No never mind. All lives matter.” Or, “Oh. Wait. Never mind. We’re all brothers. We’re all humans.”
S. FULLWOOD 09:44 Right. Right.
S. RODNEY 09:44 You haven’t done the work to give the people the voice to be able to put down that mantle. Right? I mean, so it’s a whole history of empowerment to be able to say we’re all human beings. I don’t even know how you go about having that conversation with someone who is just trying for kind of baseline dignity in America.
S. FULLWOOD 10:06 That’s really powerful. Because when you said that “So when people say all lives matter,” it’s almost a way not to talk about the universality of people.
S. RODNEY 10:13 Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD 10:15 I mean, it’s a non– Yeah. It’s shutting it down. And it’s a common thing that’s happened with race relations and cross-dialogue race for quite some time now. You find a way to say “We’re all doing this. We’re all doing this.” It’s like, “Well, no.” I mean, your words don’t match your actions. And in some cases you don’t have the power as a single person to effect the kind of changes that you’re talking about. You just don’t want to hear about it anymore, for some folks.
S. RODNEY 10:41 Besides that, I think what happens Steven is that when they– without realizing, when they speak from that position of not having enough power to actually change a system in which they are implicated and imbricated.
S. FULLWOOD 11:00 Oh yeah.
S. RODNEY 11:02 What happens a lot is they go to the fallback position of “Oh, well. This is too much work for me. You’re always talking about race. Why is it always got to be race?” Or they go to the fallback position of “I’m not racist. I’m not to blame for this. Jesus Christ. Give me a break.” Give me a break [laughter]. And those are really weak fallback positions because they don’t get us any closer to any kind of rationality that might exist where we can acknowledge that the construct exists, but then say to ourselves but this is not going to keep defining us.
C.T. WEBB 11:54 Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD 11:56 I just want to say one thing about what you said about those weak fallback positions. I think we’ve been giving people the tools, or offered them the tools. Because the tools will help you develop the imagination, develop the language. I mean, the issue that we’re having right now, the three of us are talking about this, we see the nettles and how hard it is to do this. Just among folks that are relatively conscious and learn it like yourselves. So it’s hard. But I don’t think it’s impossible. I don’t. I don’t think it’s impossible.
C.T. WEBB 12:32 Yeah. So to go back to something, so is it a kind of madness? Is there a way to use the rhetoric, the discourse of race, in a positive, healthy way that doesn’t overemphasize it as kind of an end game?
S. FULLWOOD 13:03 That’s a tough question.
S. RODNEY 13:03 You do.
C.T. WEBB 13:05 Go ahead–
S. FULLWOOD 13:05 Go ahead, Seph. Yeah.
S. RODNEY 13:07 Okay. Because now that we’ve talked it out a little bit, I feel like saying, “Yeah. It is actually a kind of madness.” It just happens to be a kind of irrationality that has wide– what’s the word?– wide acceptance. It’s just a widely held myth. Travis, I know this lies in your sort of academic wheelhouse, the kind of other worldly stories, narratives that bind a community together– Right?– regardless of whether they come close to being true, still bind us together.
C.T. WEBB 13:51 Absolutely. Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD 13:53 And do you think that what’s happening right now, Seph and Travis, that with the race, sort of, the resurgence– not really the resurgence– but the sort of can’t look away moment that we’re having right now with racial issues in the US, do you think it’s a good time to really have– not just have the dialogues– but really move on legislation and do some other things. Because I definitely feel that there is something in the air about America not being able to really confront its past or its present.
S. RODNEY 14:28 Yeah. Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD 14:28 Everyone’s trying to wipe their hands of something. I think it’s a really interesting moment. It’s not the 50’s. This is 2010.
S. RODNEY 14:36 I know.
S. FULLWOOD 14:36 And I hear people say, “If it wasn’t for Trump.” And it’s like “Well. No. Trump wasn’t the beginning or the end of this. He benefits from it.”
S. RODNEY 14:43 No. No. That’s right. Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD 14:45 So as long as we have this sort of high school version of racism, we’ll never, ever really fully get at the root of it. But people’s varied identities are rooted in these things, Black and White. I think it’s a great moment for this, but what do you guys think?
C.T. WEBB 15:04 So I don’t know. I feel– I mean, since we both returned to that word again– “ambivalent” about it. Because on one hand, I think the reason that America is still so sick, and I mean, just we’re sick. I mean, insane. Whatever you want to call it. I mean, yeah, I try to be a little bit more careful with my words. But I mean come on, we know the country is fucking sick. We know it. It is. I mean, the reason that this conversation is still here a hundred and forty-something years after the Civil War is because the country has never really come to terms with slavery and the various other hues that slavery took, whether it be Asian conscription on the railroads. I mean, we have never had a real, honest national conversation about it, ever, in our history. There are pockets here and there. And so the fact that you have young people that are socialized in this system that are indignant and sense the hypocrisy that surrounds them even though there have been real strides. I mean, we elected Barack Obama as President. There has been movement on the racial front, but almost in a like “Yeah. You started exercising five days a week, but you’re still stuffing your face with hamburgers.” [laughter] Yeah. Okay.
S. RODNEY 16:43 I like that analogy.
C.T. WEBB 16:45 Okay. I get it. There are some Black Americans. There are some non-White Americans. There are some women in positions of power. But really, we’re still pretty sick about it. And so I don’t know. I mean, so yes, I think the time is right, but where’s the seam?
S. RODNEY 17:04 May–
C.T. WEBB 17:06 Where– I’m sorry. Go ahead.
S. RODNEY 17:07 No, no, no. I interrupted you. Did you say “Where’s the seam?”
C.T. WEBB 17:11 Yeah. The seam. S-E-A-M. Where’s the wedge? Where do we put our intellectual wedge in there to try and pry apart to have that conversation to get at what is a disease. I mean, I think we’re just clearly diseased about it in this country.
S. RODNEY 17:29 So I have a response. I have actually a few. One is– and I’m scared– and I’m going to be [inaudible] about the thing. I don’t like it when people get into conversations like this and they go “Well, I look at this thing and I think that that’s hopeful.” Typically in the art scene, there’s always this conversation when we talk about the Ills of Capitalism and the Gallery System. And we say “Well, the [inaudible] model. Blah blah blah.” And I always kind of shrug because it feels like it’s more a rhetorical gesture towards some kind of hopefulness. But, that said, I actually am really impressed by what’s happening with the Parkland– and I don’t want to say kids– I think young adults is fairer. Because here’s what’s happening. They regularly recognize their counterparts who are people of color. And they talk the intersectional talk and walk it, right? They’re always saying “Yes.” Or not always. But I’ve heard them regularly say “We are in a position of privilege. Being able to speak from this place because we are White. And so we are holding hands with our brothers and sisters who are not. Recognizing that, yes, we can empower each other and we are in a position to do so and we’re only going to get there together.” So there’s something there that is actually genuinely– what’s the word I want? Not exactly hopeful but encouraging. Really encouraging about that. And I do want to follow up just to say– piggybacking on what Steven has said, and what you’ve said, Travis, in that– I think the sickness can kind of be encapsulated in this. It’s what James Baldwin said, “For America to actually, fully realize its potential to be the shining sea on the hill, Americans are going to have to explain to themselves why they needed a nigger.”
C.T. WEBB 19:46 Oh yeah.
S. RODNEY 19:48 You know what I’m saying? That’s the question. “Why did you need a nigger?” He said, “Because I’m a man. I’m a man.” Right? “I’m not a nigger. But you needed one.” Right? “So you constructed one out of sheer magic, necromancy.”
C.T. WEBB 20:11 Well America perfected it, right? The Europeans invented it. I mean let’s–
S. FULLWOOD 20:17 Oh yeah. No. That’s right.
C.T. WEBB 20:17 It goes back–
S. FULLWOOD 20:18 No. That’s right.
C.T. WEBB 20:19 I’m not trying to obviate responsibility, man. We perfected it.
S. FULLWOOD 20:22 No. You’re right.
C.T. WEBB 20:24 We re-engineered it and we paired it down to its barest parts and made it super efficient and brutal.
S. FULLWOOD 20:33 Right.
C.T. WEBB 20:33 But–
S. FULLWOOD 20:34 No. That’s right. That’s right.
C.T. WEBB 20:36 The invention belongs to the Brits, so.
S. FULLWOOD 20:40 Yeah. No. Fair enough. So what’s also–
C.T. WEBB 20:42 Go ahead, Stephen. I’m sorry. Go ahead.
S. FULLWOOD 20:43 I’m just thinking, doesn’t it also have its roots in Christianity, in the Devil, and having some sort of other to explain away things that are mysterious or scary or different? I mean, I’m curious. Don’t have that answer myself.
C.T. WEBB 20:57 So, yes. In short answer, in all large scale, what are often called communities of strangers, right? Where there is no chance that you are going to have an opportunity to know everyone that is an American, or everyone that is a Nigerian, or everyone that is a German, or fill in the blank. Those identities are always constructed around an other, right? So in Christianity you have Apostates, you have people that need to be converted, you have Savages, you have what are Pagans, was the the word for hundreds of years, right? And some of the other words attached to the other traditions are escaping me right now. But yes, to answer your question. It is always done that way. But this is the one that we have to own, right? I mean, for America, the black body was our other in its most potent, distilled form. And it haunts us still, right? That construction still haunts us.
S. FULLWOOD 22:09 Well what would it be like to not have a nigger or have an other? Like what would that look like? I mean, I don’t want to turn this into a necessarily intellectual exercise. But I am curious about what it would feel like or what it would look like not to always have a point of reference where you feel good about what it is you think you are?
C.T. WEBB 22:31 Actually, Steven, it’s a question I think about a lot. In fact, it’s a lot of the idea behind the American Age actually. And my current strategy– and so I’ll just spell it out so there’s no– I can’t hide it– it’s honestly to construct the past as the other. So–
S. FULLWOOD 22:52 Oh. Interesting.
C.T. WEBB 22:54 –my effort, my gambit, sort of the move that I’m trying to make with the American Age, is that we have to sort of make distant cousins of our past. Meaning that we have to own our past, but we also have to leave it very definitively behind. And I don’t just mean our 1865 Pre/Post Civil War past with Lincoln as kind of like the au-Father or something like that. I mean, the actual history of our species up to this point. And that we have to understand that we can’t other each other in the same ways anymore. Otherwise, we’re going to tear ourselves apart. We’ve reached that stage of development. Technologically, social complexity wise that we have to tell a better story or we’re done.
S. RODNEY 23:53 But then doesn’t that fly in the face of the kind of– and I’m going to use the word “tribal,” Steven, here. Doesn’t that fly in the face of the kind of tribalism that I see us– and when I say “us”, I mean the species– the majority of us cling to desperately. I mean, we tend to define ourselves by the tribe. And by tribe, I mean, the ethnic group, the social-economic group, the religious group, the gender group, la la la la la. I feel like that just goes against a lot of what we tend to want to do.
C.T. WEBB 24:31 Yes. I don’t think you can get rid of that, right? I think that you have to embrace that and use it. So the Lakota are a pretty good example of that, right? When the Lakota North American Indians– Federation, really– When the Oglala, and the Sicangu Oyate, and all these other tribal groups, would split from one another after kind of the great Potlatch and the Sundance Festivals and all of this. They were their own tribes. They would often compete for game. They would compete for resources. They would compete in war. But they would come together annually, or every two years, three years, depending. And they would be one corporate body then. So I don’t think the first move for anyone can be our common humanity. I think the first move is what you said Seph, which is a kind of tribalism. But that tribalism has to make sense in a larger narrative and a larger story. And I feel like intellectuals, humanists in particular, have completely dropped the ball with that.
S. RODNEY 25:45 Why do you think they’ve dropped the ball?
C.T. WEBB 25:47 Because I think we’re chickenshit. Because I honestly think for people that have liberal, progressive sensibilities, like I think everyone in this conversation, and certainly thinkers that I tend to be influenced by. I think a lot of them backed communism as the horse in the twentieth century. And they got it just so spectacularly wrong that the whole idea behind the grand narrative fell apart. And then, if you were to go to school in the 60’s to the 90’s or the early odds, all you would hear is invectives against the grand narrative, against like any kind of totalizing story. But you tell me what replaces that? What replaces a grand narrative? Every thinker that I love and admire– you brought up James Baldwin, Steven– talk about a grand– that is, his ethical power came from his ability to call us on our lack of character, right? For not being the people that we claim to be, right?
S. RODNEY 26:51 Or could be.
S. FULLWOOD 26:53 Absolutely.
C.T. WEBB 26:53 Or could be. Absolutely. Right? He read that grand narrative better than any White person in the 60’s, right? 50’s? I mean, so anyway, I’m sorry. Not to monopolize the conversation.
S. FULLWOOD 27:03 There’s some great thinkers in the early twentieth century when Baldwin was coming about. But I think that the World Wars and cults and some other things that we talked about before in different ways, the thinkers actually went to literature. They weren’t the public speakers necessarily. And I’m so excited about what the possibility could be and what that would look like. So I’m interested in this. I’m interested in watching what happens with what you’re saying “constructing the past as the other.” I think that’s a really– as someone who’s interested in the past or interested in [inaudible], but also how we do things. Regulating it to the past means you can access it. Am I correct?
C.T. WEBB 27:53 Yes.
S. FULLWOOD 27:54 But you can’t rely upon it as a formula for living.
C.T. WEBB 28:01 Right. Right.
S. RODNEY 28:02 So what happens to southern pride [laughter]?
C.T. WEBB 28:08 Yeah. So. Okay. So.
S. RODNEY 28:11 What happens to pride period? Pride in what?
C.T. WEBB 28:16 Yeah. The South is a real problem in the United States. I don’t mean for its retrograde racism. I mean Atlanta is in the South. It’s maybe the most progressive Black city in the country, and has been for–
S. FULLWOOD 28:26 Ew.
C.T. WEBB 28:28 [laughter] It’s all relative, my friend. It’s all relative. Wait, wait. No, no. Okay. So you got to explain that one? Okay. Go, Steven.
S. FULLWOOD 28:38 Oh no. The Atlanta Child Murders. We can just stop there. That’s just one way. We can stop there. And I think that after studying it and thinking about it and reading what writers have written about it, including James Baldwin with The Evidence of Things Not Seen and Toni Cade Bambara, These Bones are Not My Child. It started out as non-fiction. But those cases haven’t been solved. They used Wayne Williams as a straw person to kind of like– because really they needed to stop this. It was a affecting–
C.T. WEBB 29:08 So, Steven. Situate our listeners. So give us the quick notes on the child murders?
S. FULLWOOD 29:14 The quick notes are that around a little before 1980, I would say 79 to 80, there were at least 30 young boys and girls that were killed. And there was no one taken to task for it in the sense that the only person that was ever convicted and tried of it and the media sort of blamed him for was Wayne Williams, an African American man who had been accused of killing someone, but not the kids themselves. And so to this very day, there is conspiracy theories about whether or not the government was in on it, whether or not they were taking these kids to experiment on them, was it the KKK? There is a significant amount of information in the James Baldwin papers because he wrote about it and was trying to get at the bottom of it. And there were other people as well. And so when I think about racism, I also think about class. And so Atlanta has a really good looking track record on the face of it– sort of like Obama– they have Black elected officials, but what does it look like on the ground. And it continues to look basically the same way. It’s still a segregated city. But when you said, Travis, that when you look at Atlanta and you think it’s pro– It’s not a Black city. It’s just a lot– my friend told me that there are a lot of people in middle management in Atlanta and it looks better than it actually is. And this was maybe 10 years ago. And so–
C.T. WEBB 30:39 I appreciate the correction.
S. FULLWOOD 30:41 No. No worries.
C.T. WEBB 30:41 I would say, I did not know that, so.
S. FULLWOOD 30:44 Oh. No worries.
C.T. WEBB 30:45 My, sort of, my ready at hand reference to Atlanta obviously goes back to kind of Southern Baptist Convention and Martin Luther King and you know the rest of that. And so I appreciate the correction.
S. FULLWOOD 30:58 No worries. I like to complicate it. I think about those kids and I think about those parents and I think about– I have a friend who is named after one of the children who was killed. And so when I was actually processing the papers at The Schomburg Center, I saw the file with my friend’s name on it. And obviously–
C.T. WEBB 31:15 Oh wow.
S. FULLWOOD 31:15 –that’s not him. So Baldwin was getting police reports, clippings from newspapers, firsthand accounts from the families. This is kind of emblematic of the sort of sensibility that the US has about Black life.
S. RODNEY 31:33 Well actually I want to say right there that that might be something that we could pick up on too for the next podcast is, what constitutes Black life in the US? How do we understand what Black life is? And I would venture to say that a lot of it comes through popular culture. But I mean, we might be able to talk about literature, poetry, scientistic definitions of Black life. I’d be interested in having that conversation.
C.T. WEBB 32:09 Yeah. Yeah. I think that would be a fruitful conversation.
S. FULLWOOD 32:12 Oh. Absolutely.
C.T. WEBB 32:14 Well, I guess we’ll– I’m sorry. Go ahead, Steven.
S. FULLWOOD 32:15 I’m sorry. I apologize. Just very briefly. There’s a podcast that I have to explore that I have yet to do. It actually focuses on the Atlanta Child Murders. So I’m going to gobble that up before we possibly [crosstalk].
C.T. WEBB 32:28 Okay.
S. FULLWOOD 32:28 That’ll be nice.
C.T. WEBB 32:29 Okay. Yeah. Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD 32:30 Cool.
C.T. WEBB 32:30 All right. Well we’ll let Steven’s complication be the last words. So I appreciate that. Steven and Seph, thanks very much for joining me today.
S. FULLWOOD 32:39 Yeah. Thank you. Thank you Seph.
S. RODNEY 32:40 Yeah. Thank you Steven.
C.T. WEBB 32:42 All right, gentlemen. Take care.
S. RODNEY 32:44 Yeah. Good afternoon. Bye.


First referenced at 06:55

The History of White People

Nell Irvin Painter

Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of “whiteness” for economic, scientific, and political ends.

First referenced at 28:38

These Bones Are Not My Child: A Novel

Toni Cade Bambara

In a suspenseful novel of uncommon depth and intensity, Toni Cade Bambara renders a harrowing portrait of a city under siege.

Atlanta Monster



Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of “whiteness” for economic, scientific, and political ends.


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