The worldwide protests against police brutality and institutionalized racism following the killing of George Floyd in police custody on May 25th have inspired many people from all backgrounds to learn more about Black history, culture, and literature. As an educator, I believe that reading, discussion, and self-reflection are essential to both individual transformation and collective revolution. In that spirit, I am honored to lead a study group that traces narratives of Black resistance and resilience in the United States over the past two centuries. We will read five works of literature written by African Americans between 1861 and 2015, paying attention to the rhetorical strategies employed by these writers as well as focusing on how they reflect the particular historical moments in which they lived. No prior knowledge or background in literary analysis is required. I look forward to lively conversations about these amazing pieces of literature, conversations that allow us to reflect on the different ways that people of African descent in the United States have resisted white supremacy and created resilient communities.
- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs (1861)
- Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson (1912)
- A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (1959)
- Zami: A New Spelling of My Name – A Biomythography by Audre Lorde (1982)
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)