Testimony: Young African-Americans on Self-Discovery and Black Identity / Edition 1

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Overview

Black youth, particularly college-educated youth, are the supposed inheritors of the civil rights struggles. Although symbols of victory for the generation that came befpre them, they are actively engaged in a new struggle—one for their own identities.

In Testimony, Black students across the country express their generation's shared experiences—from racism in school to the politics of hair. One student considers the dynamics between Black men and women as he explores his own relationships; another writes of ther decision to attend a women's college, and the importance of women role models in her development. Through their compelling poetry and prose, these student writers claim identities from fragmented lives, embrace themselves, and resurrect their spirits.

Black youth, particularly college-educated youth, are the supposed inheritors of the civil-rights struggles. Today many of this new generation are engaged in a new struggle--for their own identities. In Testimony black students across the country express their own understandings of their generation's shared experiences--from racism in school to the politics of hair.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"What a quiet explosion of intellect, passion, and love. I say. Welcome. And Yeah." —Sonia Sanchez
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this collection, young black writers, primarily recent college graduates like editor Tarpley (of Harvard), offer poetry and essays on subjects personal, political and cultural. Though several are self-indulgent or pretentious, most should speak to the authors' peers. As with many young writers, especially those bearing the brunt of racism, grievances-about prejudice, inequality and ghetto pain-dominate. The topics of love, family and friends generate more nuanced pieces, including Paitra Russell's criticism of sexist black men: ``I am you: black, strong, and determined, but infinitely tired.'' The section on education includes Tour's thoughtful account of his struggle for identity on campus: ``We share a history but react individually.'' Hip-hop tales and debates dominate the section on art and aesthetics, unfortunately hinting that black college students don't look beyond the beat. Better are reflections like Faith Adiele's first exposure to the Jackson Five and John Frazier's thoughts on being black and gay. A final section mixes some loopiness-Cecil Gray's Afrocentric paradigms-with wiser words from Jelani Cobb Jr., on the intersection of black pop culture and politics, and Samuel Frederick Reynolds on the anti-ideological legacy of Malcolm X. (Jan.)
Booknews
Journalists, novelists, and students discuss personal encounters with racism, relationships, education, art, revolution, and cultural identity in this anthology of some 40 young Black writers. Lacks an index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807009291
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 307
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
A Note to the Reader
Introduction: On Giving Testimony, or the Processes of Becoming 1
Pt. 1 A Spell of Finding: Beginning the Journey 11
A Spell of Finding 13
The Ones Who Stole the Night 14
Malik's Brother Died in 1963 16
The Fire This Time 18
Livin' Just Enough for the City 26
In Remembrance Of 31
Memoirs after Surviving Well 35
Untitled 39
visitations 40
Pt. 2 The Preserving: Family and Friends 43
Mississippi Midwife 45
The Preserving 46
uncle Tall twin 48
To Set upon a Shelf 50
Questions I Have Not Asked My Mother 59
Yearning 61
the trio 65
Letters to My Sister 70
For My Sister 76
the wind still breezes your name 81
Pt. 3 In Love and Trouble 85
we sit on the stairs sometimes 87
Obsessive Love 89
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall 93
Why a Black Woman Could Never Be President 98
Shades of Grief: The Plight of a Battered Woman 101
When Words Contradict Actions 104
A Liar in Love 109
Slow Dance 116
Pt. 4 The Eyes of Seers: Educating and Re-educating Ourselves 117
To Phillis Wheatley 119
Southern University, 1962 127
From White to Black Campus 129
Eastley Echoes (excerpt) 133
White Friends 137
Untitled 138
Half Gold, Half Black: Thai Journals, 1979-80 (excerpts) 141
Accent 149
Field Trip 155
Pt. 5 You Ask Me What Hip Hop Is: Art and Aesthetics 157
Billie's Blue 159
You Ask Me What Hip Hop Is 160
The Battle 163
This Poem 179
Hazy Shade of Revolutionary 182
Pimp 4 Life 188
Pt. 6 Coming into Myself: Establishing Black Identity 195
Untitled 197
ABC 198
Coming into Myself 202
Living Out Loud 206
How It Was for Me 210
Becoming the Third Wave 215
Pt. 7 MOVE: Revolution and Solution 219
Youth 221
For All the "Think-They-Conscious" Writers 222
2,190 Days in the Life of a B-Boy: A Freestyle Chronicle of a Culture 224
The Darker the Berry 231
The Straight and Narrow 236
Nia Song 242
On Generation X 243
African-Based/African-Centered African Females and Males: Messengers and Manifestations of MA'AT 248
X1 (unknown) 259
Contributors 263
Credits 271
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