After seeing Wesley Lowery be interviewed last night about his new book “They Can’t Kill Us All,” which tracks his experience in places like Ferguson, Baltimore, and Cleveland, I realized that I’d rather spend the winter engaged with present social issues instead of distracted from them; i.e. I’m not sure I want to read Don Quixote and/or Moby Dick.
My counterproposal is that we put together a reading curriculum that keeps us steeped in American sociopolitical reality. A few examples, in no particular order:
- The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
- The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, Edward E. Baptist
- Waking Up White, Debby Irving
- An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
- Americanah, Chimamanda Adichie
- A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn
- The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
- Citizen, Claudia Rankine
- Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
- Strangers in Their Own Land, Arlie Russell Hochschild
Thoughts, Fuller? We could, of course, do the classics AND some of this stuff.