Bigger Than Bravery by
Call Number: RA644.C67 B693 2022
Publication Date: 2022
An anthology of Black resilience and reclamation, with contributions by Pearl Cleage, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Tayari Jones, Kiese Laymon, Imani Perry, Deesha Philyaw, Khadijah Queen, Jason Reynolds, Alice Walker, and more. Born of a desire to bring together the voices of those most harshly affected by the intersecting pandemics of Covid-19 and systemic racism, Bigger Than Bravery explores comfort and compromise, challenge and resilience, throughout the Great Pause that became the Great Call. Award-winning author and scholar of the Black archive Valerie Boyd curates this anthology of original essays and poems, alongside some of the most influential nonfiction published on the subject, inviting readers into a conversation of restorative joy and enduring wisdom. Bigger Than Bravery captures what Boyd calls the "first draft of history," with poems serving as deep breaths between narrative essays to form a loose chronology of this unprecedented time. Looking ahead as much as it looks back, Bigger Than Bravery offers a window into a hopeful, complex present, establishing an essential record of how Black people in America insist on joy as an act of resistance.
Looking for Lorraine by
Call Number: PS3515.A515 Z84 2018
Publication Date: 2018
Winner of the 2019 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction Winner of the Shilts-Grahn Triangle Award for Lesbian Nonfiction Winner of the 2019 Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award A New York Times Notable Book of 2018 A revealing portrait of one of the most gifted and charismatic, yet least understood, Black artists and intellectuals of the twentieth century. Lorraine Hansberry, who died at thirty-four, was by all accounts a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her short life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements, and she had an unflinching commitment to social justice, which brought her under FBI surveillance when she was barely in her twenties. While her close friends and contemporaries, like James Baldwin and Nina Simone, have been rightly celebrated, her story has been diminished and relegated to one work--until now. In 2018, Hansberry will get the recognition she deserves with the PBS American Masters documentary "Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart" and Imani Perry's multi-dimensional, illuminating biography, Looking for Lorraine. After the success of A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry used her prominence in myriad ways: challenging President Kennedy and his brother to take bolder stances on Civil Rights, supporting African anti-colonial leaders, and confronting the romantic racism of the Beat poets and Village hipsters. Though she married a man, she identified as lesbian and, risking censure and the prospect of being outed, joined one of the nation's first lesbian organizations. Hansberry associated with many activists, writers, and musicians, including Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, among others. Looking for Lorraine is a powerful insight into Hansberry's extraordinary life--a life that was tragically cut far too short. A Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Book for Nonfiction A 2019 Pauli Murray Book Prize Finalist
May We Forever Stand by
Publication Date: 2018
The twin acts of singing and fighting for freedom have been inseparable in African American history. May We Forever Stand tells an essential part of that story. With lyrics penned by James Weldon Johnson and music composed by his brother Rosamond, "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was embraced almost immediately as an anthem that captured the story and the aspirations of black Americans. Since the song's creation, it has been adopted by the NAACP and performed by countless artists in times of both crisis and celebration, cementing its place in African American life up through the present day. In this rich, poignant, and readable work, Imani Perry tells the story of the Black National Anthem as it traveled from South to North, from civil rights to black power, and from countless family reunions to Carnegie Hall and the Oval Office. Drawing on a wide array of sources, Perry uses "Lift Every Voice and Sing" as a window on the powerful ways African Americans have used music and culture to organize, mourn, challenge, and celebrate for more than a century.
More Beautiful and More Terrible by
Call Number: E184.A1 P42 2011
Publication Date: 2011
Perry argues that racism in America has moved into a new phase--post-intentional For a nation that often optimistically claims to be post-racial, we are still mired in the practices of racial inequality that plays out in law, policy, and in our local communities. One of two explanations is often given for this persistent phenomenon: On the one hand, we might be hypocritical--saying one thing, and doing or believing another; on the other, it might have little to do with us individually but rather be inherent to the structure of American society. More Beautiful and More Terrible compels us to think beyond this insufficient dichotomy in order to see how racial inequality is perpetuated. Imani Perry asserts that the U.S. is in a new and distinct phase of racism that is "post-intentional": neither based on the intentional discrimination of the past, nor drawing upon biological concepts of race. Drawing upon the insights and tools of critical race theory, social policy, law, sociology and cultural studies, she demonstrates how post-intentional racism works and maintains that it cannot be addressed solely through the kinds of structural solutions of the Left or the values arguments of the Right. Rather, the author identifies a place in the middle--a space of "righteous hope"--and articulates a notion of ethics and human agency that will allow us to expand and amplify that hope. To paraphrase James Baldwin, when talking about race, it is both more terrible than most think, but also more beautiful than most can imagine, with limitless and open-ended possibility. Perry leads readers down the path of imagining the possible and points to the way forward.
Prophets of the Hood by
Call Number: ML3531 .P47 2004
Publication Date: 2004
At once the most lucrative, popular, and culturally oppositional musical force in the United States, hip hop demands the kind of interpretation Imani Perry provides here: criticism engaged with this vibrant musical form on its own terms. A scholar and a fan, Perry considers the art, politics, and culture of hip hop through an analysis of song lyrics, the words of the prophets of the hood. Recognizing prevailing characterizations of hip hop as a transnational musical form, Perry advances a powerful argument that hip hop is first and foremost black American music. At the same time, she contends that many studies have shortchanged the aesthetic value of rap by attributing its form and content primarily to socioeconomic factors. Her innovative analysis revels in the artistry of hip hop, revealing it as an art of innovation, not deprivation. Perry offers detailed readings of the lyrics of many hip hop artists, including Ice Cube, Public Enemy, De La Soul, krs-One, OutKast, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Tupac Shakur, Lil' Kim, Biggie Smalls, Nas, Method Man, and Lauryn Hill. She focuses on the cultural foundations of the music and on the form and narrative features of the songs--the call and response, the reliance on the break, the use of metaphor, and the recurring figures of the trickster and the outlaw. Perry also provides complex considerations of hip hop's association with crime, violence, and misogyny. She shows that while its message may be disconcerting, rap often expresses brilliant insights about existence in a society mired in difficult racial and gender politics. Hip hop, she suggests, airs a much wider, more troubling range of black experience than was projected during the civil rights era. It provides a unique public space where the sacred and the profane impulses within African American culture unite.
South to America by
Call Number: F216.2 .P47 2022
Publication Date: 2022
WINNER OF THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "An elegant meditation on the complexities of the American South--and thus of America--by an esteemed daughter of the South and one of the great intellectuals of our time. An inspiration." --Isabel Wilkerson An essential, surprising journey through the history, rituals, and landscapes of the American South--and a revelatory argument for why you must understand the South in order to understand America We all think we know the South. Even those who have never lived there can rattle off a list of signifiers: the Civil War, Gone with the Wind, the Ku Klux Klan, plantations, football, Jim Crow, slavery. But the idiosyncrasies, dispositions, and habits of the region are stranger and more complex than much of the country tends to acknowledge. In South to America, Imani Perry shows that the meaning of American is inextricably linked with the South, and that our understanding of its history and culture is the key to understanding the nation as a whole. This is the story of a Black woman and native Alabaman returning to the region she has always called home and considering it with fresh eyes. Her journey is full of detours, deep dives, and surprising encounters with places and people. She renders Southerners from all walks of life with sensitivity and honesty, sharing her thoughts about a troubling history and the ritual humiliations and joys that characterize so much of Southern life. Weaving together stories of immigrant communities, contemporary artists, exploitative opportunists, enslaved peoples, unsung heroes, her own ancestors, and her lived experiences, Imani Perry crafts a tapestry unlike any other. With uncommon insight and breathtaking clarity, South to America offers an assertion that if we want to build a more humane future for the United States, we must center our concern below the Mason-Dixon Line. A Recommended Read from: The New Yorker * The New York Times * TIME * Oprah Daily * USA Today * Vulture * Essence * Esquire * W Magazine * Atlanta Journal-Constitution * PopSugar * Book Riot * Chicago Review of Books * Electric Literature * Lit Hub
Vexy Thing by
Publication Date: 2018
Even as feminism has become increasingly central to our ideas about institutions, relationships, and everyday life, the term used to diagnose the problem--"patriarchy"--is used so loosely that it has lost its meaning. In Vexy Thing Imani Perry resurrects patriarchy as a target of critique, recentering it to contemporary discussions of feminism through a social and literary analysis of cultural artifacts from the Enlightenment to the present. Drawing on a rich array of sources--from nineteenth-century slavery court cases and historical vignettes to writings by Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde and art by Kara Walker and Wangechi Mutu--Perry shows how the figure of the patriarch emerged as part and parcel of modernity, the nation-state, the Industrial Revolution, and globalization. She also outlines how digital media and technology, neoliberalism, and the security state continue to prop up patriarchy. By exploring the past and present of patriarchy in the world we have inherited and are building for the future, Perry exposes its mechanisms of domination as a necessary precursor to dismantling it.
Perry, Imani. “Occupying the Universal, Embodying the Subject: African American Literary Jurisprudence.” Law and Literature, vol. 17, no. 1, 2005, pp. 97–129.
Perry, Imani. “Of Degraded Talk, Digital Tongues, and a Commitment to Care.” Profession, 2012, pp. 17–24.
Perry, Imani. “Guest Column: What Is True in Our World? A Revival.” PMLA, vol. 129, no. 2, 2014, pp. 167–70.
Perry, Imani. “The Way Home.” TIME Magazine, vol. 199, no. 5/6, Feb. 2022, pp. 46–50.
Perry, Imani. “I Searched for Answers About My Enslaved Ancestor. What I Found Was More Questions.” Time.Com, Jan. 2022.
Perry, Imani. "The Country Idiom of Hip-Hop: How trickster tales, diasporic toasts, and James Brown shaped a genre." Oxford American. vol. 119, Winter 2022.
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