Here is the superb second edition of the annual anthology devoted to the best nonfiction writing by African American authors—provocative works from an unprecedented and unforgettable year when truth was stranger (and more inspiring) than fiction. The galvanizing election of Barack Obama was on the minds—and the pages—of authors everywhere. Best African American Essays 2010Here is the superb second edition of the annual anthology devoted to the best nonfiction writing by African American authors—provocative works from an unprecedented and unforgettable year when truth was stranger (and more inspiring) than fiction. The galvanizing election of Barack Obama was on the minds—and the pages—of authors everywhere. Best African American Essays 2010 features the insights of writers from Juan Williams to Kelefa Sanneh and even Obama himself (his seminal speech on race is included here in its entirety). Ta-Nehisi Coates, in The Nation, proclaims that the president has "redefined blackness for white America," while Adolph Reed, Jr., in The Progressive, calls him a "vacuous opportunist" and Colson Whitehead, in The New York Times, lightheartedly revels in the election of "someone who looked like me . . . slim." The First Lady is considered, too, as Lauren Collins, in The New Yorker, assesses the radical quality of Michelle Obama's very normalcy.But Best African American Essays 2010 goes beyond the Obamas with brilliant pieces from such writers as Hua Hsu, who declares the end of white America in "a new cultural mainstream which prizes diversity above all else"; Henry Louis Gates, who researches his family tree, adding to the "young discipline" that is African American history; and Jelani Cobb, who dares to defend George W. Bush. There are thoughtful and heartfelt tributes to living legends, including Bill Cosby (and an analysis of his famous "pound cake" speech, which promoted black responsibility, empowerment, and self-esteem), and remembrances of those who have passed, including Miriam Makeba, Isaac Hayes, Eartha Kitt, and Michael Jackson.Selected by guest editor Randall Kennedy, a leading intellectual and legal scholar, the wide-ranging pieces in Best African American Essays 2010 comprise a thrilling collection that anyone who wishes to understand the meaning of the new America must own....
|Title||:||Best African American Essays 2010|
|Number of Pages||:||400 Pages|
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Best African American Essays 2010 Reviews
I really enjoyed last year’s edition and was happy to find that this new collection has even more wide ranging but always interesting essays. There are 41 essays and articles, from very short to substantial in size, and they are grouped in 12 different categories:The Presidential Election of 2008Our MichelleReverend Wright RevisitedThe United States, Past and PresentPersonalitiesProfilesRace TalkSportsRita DoveAfrican American LiteratureRacial Identity, Enslavement, and the LawIn Memoriam: John Hope FranklinI enjoyed all the essays individually and as a collection because they show how all of the issues and topics covered here are very nuanced and are ill-served by all the hype and soundbite analyzation that is commonplace in the news today. As with other anthology reviews, I will point out the essays that really grabbed my attention. A More Perfect Union by Barack ObamaA speech by Obama, works just as well on the page.Finally, a Thin President by Colson WhiteheadFunny take on the "finally someone like me as president" notion.The Other Obama: Michelle Obama and the Politics of Candor by Lauren CollinsSince I never really read anything about any of the candidates or their families, this detailed look at Michelle Obama was very interesting.In Defense of George Bush by Jelani CobbAn essay pointing out how easy it can be to blame Bush for everything.The End of White America? by Hua HsuAn interesting look at just what it means for the current majority to become a minority.‘This Is How We Lost to the White Man’ by Ta-Nehisi CoatesA look at Bill Cosby, his controversial remarks, and the issues they raise.The Other Black President by Adam SerwerA look at the new president of the NAACP, and that groups evolving relevance today.Family Matters by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.Interesting look at a slice of the author's family's past.Pig Candy (Excerpt) by Lise FunderburgFrom a book, but an absolutely fascinating look at the life of a black doctor in the south in the early part of the 20th century, chronicled by his granddaughter.On Black History Month by Eric HolderOn Race, Blacks Are Cowards, Too by Bill MaxwelA speech that caused some controversy, and an essay that explores what the speech talks about.Creature Features: A Two-Part Invention on Racial Profiling by Gerald EarlyThis Machine Kills Fascists by Gerald EarlyThe author considers his own recent reaction to a situation in light of an incident that happened years earlier, and the essay about that incident.Still Crazy After All These Years by L. Jon WertheimFun look at how the Harlem Globetrotters are set to be as big as they used to be.The Fire This Time by Rita DoveOn Rita Dove by Erika MeitnerAbsorbing essay by Dove that details the aftermath of a house fire caused by lightning, and an equally absorbing essay from her student about Dove as a teacher.Chester Himes: Exile & 125th Street by Michael A. GonzalesNot having read anything by or about Himes before, I found this essay an interesting place to start.
Great book. I have been introduced to Adolph Reed, Hua Hsu and Jelani Cobb. I enjoyed reading two more by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I enjoyed revisiting the election of 2008. The essays on Obama, Jeremiah Wright, etc. were good and thought provoking. I also really enjoyed the memoir piece called Pig Candy by Lise Funderburg. There are two connected essays by Gerald Early that were especially good, showing the incredible and painful complexity of race in our country. He was at the mall to pick up his family from a Junior League meeting and the jewelry store owner called the cops because he was "lurking" and "casing out the joint". He is a University professor. The second essay ends with him walking with his daughter and her saying "I'm sorry, Daddy. I'm sorry I wasn't with you that night at the mall. If I was, then this wouldn't have happened. The guy wouldn't have called the police if I was walking with you." Gerald Early goes on to explain that it was common practice to take his children with him whenever "I went shopping, out for a walk in a white neighborhood, or just felt like going about in the white world. The reason is simple enough: if a black man is alone or with other black men, he is a threat to whites. But if he is with children, then he is harmless, adorable, the dutiful father."The second to last essay was on the social construction of race by Angela Onwuachi-Willig. Its subject is a court case from 1806 called Hudgins v. Wrights. But she gives important back story. This is in Virginia. In 1691 (or some argued 1702) the courts ruled that Native Americans were free as opposed to blacks who were slaves. This is important because the case was of a grandmother, a mother, and a granddaugther who claimed to be descended from a free American Indian woman and their fight against a white slaveowner who claimed they were descended from an enslaved black woman. Ok, it might take you a minute, but did you notice that the claims were matriarchal? The question was not who is your father, but who is your mother. Unfortunately, this was not a progressive idea, but, disturbingly, a practicality--"Confronted with an increasing population of mixed-race children--primarily born as a result of the brutal sexual assault and rape of black women by white slaveowners--the Virginia Assembly in 1662 passed an act declaring that the mixed-race children inherited the status of their mothers. Under this act, the mixed-race child of a black slave mother became the property of the mother's owner."She goes on to cover the one-drop policy that established itself by 1920 and was even incorporated in the National Census. What she exposes is how all of this is couched in scientific language, but is not scientific. (I actually has a few more paragraphs, but my intermittent internet and the fact that I was writing this on the goodreads caused it to be lost. Lucky you).
Really appreciated the Cosby essay placing his politics in the context of black conservatism, as well as the Amy Winehouse piece which was just great writing, every word evocative. I got bored after a while of the long Obama section, although I appreciated some of the stuff that focused in on something smaller about the Obamas and made meaning from that, like a piece about him being a basketball fan. There was a Harlem Globetrotters piece I liked. Like last year, there were some right wing ones that made me mad, and those could be booted out and replaced with some queer stuff.
I used to think Bill Cosby was out-of-his-ever-loving mind, but after reading the Essay "This Is How We Lost to the White Man" I respect his thought processes.The essays about sports were very difficult to read through, more especially the two about basketball (I'm not a basketball fan), however "The Joe Louis Moment" was inspirational - it does feel really great to stand on the heels of our ancestors.Great compliation that certainly helped broaden my thinking. Too bad it seems like there will not be another edition.
An incredibly rich collection, even better than its predecessor. I'm looking forward to the 2011 volme.
I just began reading this book and it is good so far.
I really liked this; it was fun and interesting to read a wide variety of opinion and analysis on an array of subjects in satisfying little snippets.