The Trayvon generation

Elizabeth Alexander, 1962-

Book - 2022

"In the midst of civil unrest in the summer of 2020 following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, one of the great literary voices of our time, Elizabeth Alexander, wrote a moving reflection on the psyche of young Black America, turning a mother's eye to her sons' generation. Originally published in the New Yorker, the essay brilliantly and lovingly observed the lives and attitudes of young people who even as children could never be shielded from the br...utality that has ended so many Black boys and men's lives. With camera phones and internet access, the racist violence that has plagued America throughout its history has become more extensively documented, and immediately and constantly accessible through news articles and social media posts. The children of this generation were teens too when Trayvon Martin was murdered in 2012 before reaching adulthood, becoming the first in a series of now well known names, and any efforts from mothers to protect their sons from the heartbreaking truth of our society was futile in the digital age of information. Now, the viral essay which spoke so resonantly to this unique historical moment that it was shared and praised by Barack Obama, John Legend, Melissa Harris Perry, and many more, is expounded upon, bookended by additional essays woven with profound insight and heart and combined with groundbreaking art by prominent and up-and-coming Black artists. Taking the reader through our past and extrapolating its lasting impact through to our current moment, Elizabeth then turns her eye to the radical potential of our future. Through her lyrical prose, Elizabeth Alexander writes with pride, fear, love, and a keen awareness of the reflective power of pop culture and art on the nature of racism and the fight for racial justice as it spans and evolves across generations. These essays are essential reading, a breathtaking expression of both the hope and horror of this era"--

Saved in:

2nd Floor New Shelf Show me where

305.896/Alexander
1 / 2 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor New Shelf 305.896/Alexander (NEW SHELF) Due Jul 9, 2022
2nd Floor New Shelf 305.896/Alexander (NEW SHELF) Checked In
Subjects
Published
New York : Grand Central Publishing 2022.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
viii, 146 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 19 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 133-138).
ISBN
9781538737897
1538737892
Main Author
Elizabeth Alexander, 1962- (author)
  • "What will be the sacred words?
  • "here lies"
  • "shock of delayed comprehension"
  • a tale of two textbooks
  • "cemetery for the illustrious negro dead"
  • the trayvon generation
  • "we dress our ideas in clothes to make the abstract visible"
  • "whether the negro sheds tears"
  • "there are black people in the future".
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Poet and memoirist Alexander (The Light of the World, 2015) deftly blends family history and cultural criticism in this bittersweet essay collection on race, memory, and memorialization. A Yale professor intimately familiar with the contradictions of a wealthy, world-class university taking but not sharing space in a largely Black and poor town, Alexander is a thoughtful and eloquent chronicler of racial anxiety and pain. She notes the power of monuments as indicators of value, as in the overpowering white supremacist defiance of Stone Mountain, Georgia. Black artists, writers, and musicians push back, striving to affirm Black values by memorializing the lost lives of slaves, while libraries serve "as cemeteries for the illustrious Negro dead." Alexander longs to lift the burden of racial responsibility from her two young adult sons and see them become "free black men," carefree and confident, so secure in their identity and self-worth that the idiocy of racism has no power over them. Yet for those growing up in the shadow of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and George Floyd, freedom and a sense of self-worth can be lethal. Illuminated and illustrated with poetry and art by Lucille Clifton, Gwendolyn Brooks, Kerry James Marshall, Kara Walker, and many more, Alexander's piercing inquiry merits a place in the ongoing social justice conversation. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Poet and memoirist Alexander (The Light of the World, 2015) deftly blends family history and cultural criticism in this bittersweet essay collection on race, memory, and memorialization. A Yale professor intimately familiar with the contradictions of a wealthy, world-class university taking but not sharing space in a largely Black and poor town, Alexander is a thoughtful and eloquent chronicler of racial anxiety and pain. She notes the power of monuments as indicators of value, as in the overpowering white supremacist defiance of Stone Mountain, Georgia. Black artists, writers, and musicians push back, striving to affirm Black values by memorializing the lost lives of slaves, while libraries serve "as cemeteries for the illustrious Negro dead." Alexander longs to lift the burden of racial responsibility from her two young adult sons and see them become "free black men," carefree and confident, so secure in their identity and self-worth that the idiocy of racism has no power over them. Yet for those growing up in the shadow of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and George Floyd, freedom and a sense of self-worth can be lethal. Illuminated and illustrated with poetry and art by Lucille Clifton, Gwendolyn Brooks, Kerry James Marshall, Kara Walker, and many more, Alexander's piercing inquiry merits a place in the ongoing social justice conversation. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet and scholar of African American studies Alexander (The Light of the World) eloquently writes about the importance of bearing witness to the violence directed against Black people in the United States. She addresses parenting and protecting the young people whom she calls the "Trayvon Generation," who witnessed the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and many others via videos on their cell phones. Alexander deftly touches on many other important topics related to violence against Black people, by examining how American society normalizes white supremacy—a fundamental problem that Black people have faced since enslaved people were brought to the U.S. Alexander cleverly reminds readers that Confederate flags flew at the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, while throughout the country, Americans are constantly surrounded by portraits of slaveholding Founding Fathers and university founders. What is most striking is the way Alexander incorporates the value of public art, poetry, dance, and writing as central to memorializing and commemorating Black history and events. Alexander argues that white supremacy in the United States cannot be fixed by Black people alone; it must be reckoned with by all of society. VERDICT A very moving short book that seeks to challenge readers' assumptions about American society; highly recommended for all libraries and for reading groups.—Amy Lewontin Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Poet and memoirist Alexander (The Light of the World) expands on her New Yorker essay in this vigorous and inspiring reflection on how Black art reckons with the traumas of racism and racial violence. Contending that the "war against Black people feels as if it is gearing up for another epic round," Alexander highlights how Black poets, artists, authors, and musicians have "continuously articulated the problem, the hope, and the possibility of America." She lucidly analyzes poems by Amiri Baraka, Lucille Clifton, and Clint Smith, among others, and describes the political battle over historian John Hope Franklin's eighth-grade textbook, Land of the Free, written in 1966, as an antecedent to today's fights over critical race theory. Elsewhere, Alexander discusses how the "worldview" of African Americans who grew up in the past 25 years has been shaped by the killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, George Floyd, and others, and spotlights music videos by Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus that "bring together the naturalistic and the visionary" to showcase the "reanimating" power of Black joy and community. By capturing the rich spectrum of Black culture in America, Alexander offers hope and instruction for younger generations. The result is a thought-provoking must-read. Agent: Faith Childs, Faith Childs Literary Agency. (Apr.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Poet and memoirist Alexander (The Light of the World) expands on her New Yorker essay in this vigorous and inspiring reflection on how Black art reckons with the traumas of racism and racial violence. Contending that the "war against Black people feels as if it is gearing up for another epic round," Alexander highlights how Black poets, artists, authors, and musicians have "continuously articulated the problem, the hope, and the possibility of America." She lucidly analyzes poems by Amiri Baraka, Lucille Clifton, and Clint Smith, among others, and describes the political battle over historian John Hope Franklin's eighth-grade textbook, Land of the Free, written in 1966, as an antecedent to today's fights over critical race theory. Elsewhere, Alexander discusses how the "worldview" of African Americans who grew up in the past 25 years has been shaped by the killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, George Floyd, and others, and spotlights music videos by Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus that "bring together the naturalistic and the visionary" to showcase the "reanimating" power of Black joy and community. By capturing the rich spectrum of Black culture in America, Alexander offers hope and instruction for younger generations. The result is a thought-provoking must-read. Agent: Faith Childs, Faith Childs Literary Agency. (Apr.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"In the midst of civil unrest in the summer of 2020 following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, one of the great literary voices of our time, Elizabeth Alexander, wrote a moving reflection on the psyche of young Black America, turning a mother's eye to her sons' generation. Originally published in the New Yorker, the essay brilliantly and lovingly observed the lives and attitudes of young people who even as children could never be shielded from the brutality that has ended so many Black boys and men's lives. With camera phones and internet access, the racist violence that has plagued America throughout its history has become more extensively documented, and immediately and constantly accessible through news articles and social media posts. The children of this generation were teens too when Trayvon Martin was murdered in 2012 before reaching adulthood, becoming the first in a series of now well known names, and any efforts from mothers to protect their sons from the heartbreaking truth of our society was futile in the digital age of information. Now, the viral essay which spoke so resonantly to this unique historical moment that it was shared and praised by Barack Obama, John Legend, Melissa Harris Perry, and many more, is expounded upon, bookended by additional essays woven with profound insight and heart and combined with groundbreaking art by prominent and up-and-coming Black artists. Taking the reader through our past and extrapolating its lasting impact through to our current moment, Elizabeth then turns her eye to the radical potential of our future. Through her lyrical prose, Elizabeth Alexander writes with pride, fear, love, and a keen awareness of the reflective power of pop culture and art on the nature of racism and the fight for racial justice as it spans and evolves across generations. These essays are essential reading, a breathtaking expression of both the hope and horror of this era"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Originally published in the New Yorker, one of the great literary voices of our time shares her celebrated and moving reflection on the challenges facing young Black America, illuminating our nation’s unresolved problem with race. 100,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From a Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times bestselling author and poet comes a galvanizing meditation on the power of art and culture to illuminate America's unresolved problem with race.*Named a Most Anticipated Title of 2022 by TIME magazine, New York Times, Bustle, and more*In the midst of civil unrest in the summer of 2020 and following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, Elizabeth Alexander—one of the great literary voices of our time—turned a mother's eye to her sons’ and students’ generation and wrote a celebrated and moving reflection on the challenges facing young Black America. Originally published in the New Yorker, the essay incisively and lovingly observed the experiences, attitudes, and cultural expressions of what she referred to as the Trayvon Generation, who even as children could not be shielded from the brutality that has affected the lives of so many Black people. The Trayvon Generation expands the viral essay that spoke so resonantly to the persistence of race as an ongoing issue at the center of the American experience. Alexander looks both to our past and our future with profound insight, brilliant analysis, and mighty heart, interweaving her voice with groundbreaking works of art by some of our most extraordinary artists. At this crucial time in American history when we reckon with who we are as a nation and how we move forward, Alexander's lyrical prose gives us perspective informed by historical understanding, her lifelong devotion to education, and an intimate grasp of the visioning power of art. This breathtaking  book is essential reading and an expression of both the tragedies and hopes for the young people of this era that is sure to be embraced by those who are leading the movement for change and anyone rising to meet the moment.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

*Named one of TIME magazine's Most Anticipated Titles of 2022*From a Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times bestselling author and poet comes a galvanizing meditation on the power of art and culture to illuminate America's unresolved problem with race.In the midst of civil unrest in the summer of 2020 and following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, Elizabeth Alexander—one of the great literary voices of our time—turned a mother's eye to her sons’ and students’ generation and wrote a celebrated and moving reflection on the challenges facing young Black America. Originally published in the New Yorker, the essay incisively and lovingly observed the experiences, attitudes, and cultural expressions of what she referred to as the Trayvon Generation, who even as children could not be shielded from the brutality that has affected the lives of so many Black people. The Trayvon Generation expands the viral essay that spoke so resonantly to the persistence of race as an ongoing issue at the center of the American experience. Alexander looks both to our past and our future with profound insight, brilliant analysis, and mighty heart, interweaving her voice with groundbreaking works of art by some of our most extraordinary artists. At this crucial time in American history when we reckon with who we are as a nation and how we move forward, Alexander's lyrical prose gives us perspective informed by historical understanding, her lifelong devotion to education, and an intimate grasp of the visioning power of art. This breathtaking  book is essential reading and an expression of both the tragedies and hopes for the young people of this era that is sure to be embraced by those who are leading the movement for change and anyone rising to meet the moment.