The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race
In a world full of racial hate and violence, The Fire This Time is urgent, perceptive, and essential. Deeply affected by the death of Trayvon Martin, Jesmyn Ward sought comfort in an online community that shared her fear and anger. Inspired by the thoughts of these black activists and scholars, Ward gathered a collection of eighteen reflective essays and poems, forming a book that would hopefully bring solace to black Americans. With a title that nods to James Baldwin’s formative work The Fire Next Time, this volume offers new perspectives on the inexhaustible subject of race in America.
The following contributors, along with many more, have written with united ambition and great intellect. Claudia Rankine expresses the fear shared by black parents that their children may become victims of violence simply because of their skin color. Kevin Young explores blackness through the lens of pop culture, blackface, and the Rachel Dolezal debacle. Kiese Laymon examines the lyrical art of OutKast and the importance of honoring ancestors. Garnette Cadogan recalls learning to walk as a black man through the streets of America. Emily Raboteau writes about New York City’s murals and their desperate message to blacks to “Know Your Rights.” This varied anthology will inspire hope and societal change for years to come.