National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward takes James Baldwin's 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time, as a jumping-off point for this groundbreaking collection of essays and poems about race from the most important voices of her generation and our time.
In light of recent tragedies and widespread protests across the nation, The Progressive magazine republished one of its most famous pieces: James Baldwin's 1962 "Letter to My Nephew", which was later published in his landmark book, The Fire Next Time. Addressing his 15-year-old namesake on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Baldwin wrote, "You know and I know that the country is celebrating 100 years of freedom 100 years too soon."
Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward knows that Baldwin's words ring as true as ever today. In response she has gathered short essays, memoir, and a few essential poems to engage the question of race in the United States. And she has turned to some of her generation's most original thinkers and writers to give voice to their concerns.
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strong voices, witness to our times
- Karen Johnston