We Can’t Breathe

“This is a narrative of what it was like for those of us born in the thirties. Our parents had come from Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and many other southern states where the whites were perverse and inhuman in their treatment of blacks. But mostly they came from Mississippi. They came to the big cities armed only with glorious fantasies about a new and better world, hoping to find the dignity that had been denied them, hoping to find the self-respect that had been cut out of them. They came north, and we were the children born in the place they had escaped to—Chicago.”

The “Thin Places” Suffering Can Break Through

What would it feel like to be quarantined with a parent who was stressed to the breaking point, symptoms flaring, but could not seek help, either because illness had them paranoid or because they were afraid they would lose custody of the one reason they stayed alive?

Requiem for a Young Soldier Who Vanished

Maybe it was being mistaken for that other young man that fixed the incident in my mind for 35 years. Maybe it was the helplessness of an army’s search at sea, on rivers, and in the jungle. Maybe I am predisposed to worry over everything turning away in time, calmly.

Demolition in the Time of Coronavirus

When they were put up in the 1960s, the Kirwan-Blanding Towers were a confident bet on the future of the University of Kentucky and of the country and the world. Now, as they disappear, no one can be sure of what the future holds for American higher education, for America as a whole, or for the planet.

Remembering Octavia Butler

Make no mistake, Octavia E. Butler was among the greatest American authors of the twentieth century. The intervening years have seen Butler’s work reclaimed by literary critics, scholars, and the reading public at large, but the fact remains: She was always terrific, even when too few people affirmed this judgment in the public square.

The Story of the Black People Who Will Vote for Donald Trump

How can remedies for Blacks, because of their unique subjugation, be colorblind and still work? Will they not be simply co-opted by the White majority? To this, the Black conservative responds that Blacks let their race over-determine their views and their fate while intensifying their sense of alienation, failing to understand that they are Americans too and benefit from policies that are good for Americans on the whole.

Rhythm-a-ning: The Art of Knowing a Policeman Well

I was nine months old when my father died. After his death, my mother remained a widow until December 29, 1979, when she married Cooper, who, by virtue of this fact, became my step-father, although I was twenty-seven at the time and hardly in need of a new parent. But Cooper was not new to me.