Gerald Early

Gerald Early, editor of The Common Reader and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters, professor of English and of African and African-American Studies, both in Arts & Sciences, at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Early is a native of Philadelphia and earned a BA from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his MA and PhD from Cornell University.

Posts by Gerald Early

An Origin Story of the Black Elite

What we have in Black Fortune is not just a proto-black version of the Rich and the Famous, although it is on some level precisely that, but also another kind of origin story of the black elite or of a black economic elite or leisure class and how it saw its racial duties, this last being a major obsession with successful blacks.

Mothers’ Day

There was a time when I had dreams, infrequently but strikingly, that my mother had died. These occurred some years ago when I did not talk to her very regularly or see her often.

Tales of Fortress America

Corrigan’s book is well-conceived and well-executed, written with a polemical chip on its shoulder, to be sure, but with an earnest intelligence that makes it a compelling and at times even absorbing read, revealing a striking self-awareness of the stakes and the drama of the psy-war that prison custodians and their prisoners engage in.

Colin Kaepernick, Kneeling, and the Meaning of Gratitude

In some ways, the current wave of African-American football players kneeling during the national anthem replicates the Bebop revolution that changed the public persona of the black male jazz musician. Now it is black players demanding that audiences recognize that their attitude is not the same as their white peers.