W.E.B. Du Bois and Joel Spingarn

Notes on Black Americans, Jews, and Israel

People are always trying to find ways to get out from under their guilt. Is the Palestinian simply a tool for Europe, for guilty White westerners, to get out from under the guilt they feel about their persecution of the Jews? If that is true, it is too bad for Palestinians and worse for Jews. Neither is human in this scenario. Blacks, because of our experience, should bear that in mind even more so than other Americans might.

Yesenia Montilla; Matt Sedillo

How Marginalized Voices Break Barriers

On Thursday, October 12, The Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity will welcome Latine poets Roy Guzmán, Yesenia Montilla, and Matt Sedillo to Washington University in St. Louis for a panel discussion in celebration of Latine Heritage Month. The evening will focus on the poets’ use of poetry to fuel social change and how their work addresses race and identity. Ahead of the event, we were delighted to speak with two of the featured guests, Yesenia Montilla and Matt Sedillo, to learn more about their relationship with poetry.

007 at 70

In 2023, the Bond franchise celebrates its 70th anniversary. Very few franchises, with the exception of the Universal Classic Monsters and Godzilla series, have enjoyed such a long life in the popular media of film. Like them, the Bond franchise has seen many new beginnings that continually restart the property, perpetually reset it, and are bound to do so again.

The Five Best  Films of the Blaxploitation Era

While dismissed by Hollywood as a handy trend, Blaxploitation has earned a shaky status in the history of film and Black cultural history at large. The propensity to elicit loaded for or against debates has led to equally overwrought praise and scorn for these films. A half-century after Blaxploitation’s bombastic introduction, quick rise, and equally quick fall, we would do well to revisit, and reconsider, those films that best exemplify the still prickly term.

Black Conservatives Finally End Affirmative Action

I decided that I wanted to write a commentary that focused on Black conservatives. One reason for this was obvious: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is one of the most famous (or infamous, take your pick) Black conservatives in the country. I was certain that if the court overturned college admissions affirmative action, Thomas would write the majority decision or a lengthy concurrence. He did the latter.

On Top with The Four Tops

Duke Fakir’s life determination radiates throughout I’ll Be There: My Life With The Four Tops. From arriving early in high school, hustling up the group’s first uniforms, managing the group’s funds, and now preserving the group’s legacy.

Tales from a Train

Riding coach on Amtrak today is more like taking a nice bus. No doubt I will arrive weary, disillusioned and, as the Victorians put it, “travel-stained.”

Ten Best Poems of the Past Ten Years

Funeral sermons for poetry seldom discuss, in detail, a single poem. This is a problem of reception, not of poesis, or making. I offer, here, under a perhaps too-pithy conceit, the antidote: a hyper-close, even seemingly rudimentary, close reading of ten poems from the past ten years that I believe offer glimpses of the most vital work in today’s poetry.