The Matter of Black Lives: Writing from The New Yorker
In response to the increased clamor for a historical and intellectual grounding for America’s ever-present struggle toward social justice, editors Jelani Cobb and David Remnick present an anthology of more than forty essays, critiques, and journalistic pieces in The Matter of Black Lives: Writing from The New Yorker. The collection provides a retrospective on depictions and interpretations of Black art, culture, and activism, while also highlighting contemporary battles for the dignity of Black lives.
The Matter of Black Lives is a significant volume, both in quantity and quality. The essays, features, and commentaries selected by Cobb and Remnick span the decades and serve to expand the discourse on the political, cultural, and economic manifestations of the complex racial stratification in the United States. Searing portraits of notable Black artists such as singer Marian Anderson, rapper Kendrick Lamar, and artist Kara Walker are interspersed with the unflinching wit of Toni Morrison, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Ta-nehisi Coates.
For students of civil rights movements, the anthology serves as a reminder of how long Black pain and tragedy have been around in the public sphere, even as our society relishes the fruits of Black labor and creativity. Through the esteemed pages of The New Yorker, it’s clear that every generation builds upon what the previous one has built, deepening the critique, hopefully getting us all a step closer to true and lasting racial reckoning.
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