Bird Uncaged: An Abolitionist's Freedom Song

Bird Uncaged: An Abolitionist's Freedom Song

by Marlon Peterson
Bird Uncaged: An Abolitionist's Freedom Song

Bird Uncaged: An Abolitionist's Freedom Song

by Marlon Peterson



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From a leading prison abolitionist, a moving memoir about coming of age in Brooklyn and surviving incarceration—and a call to break free from all the cages that confine us.
Marlon Peterson grew up in 1980s Crown Heights, raised by Trinidadian immigrants. Amid the routine violence that shaped his neighborhood, Marlon became a high-achieving and devout child, the specter of the American dream opening up before him. But in the aftermath of immense trauma, he participated in a robbery that resulted in two murders. At nineteen, Peterson was charged and later convicted. He served ten long years in prison. While incarcerated, Peterson immersed himself in anti-violence activism, education, and prison abolition work.
In Bird Uncaged, Peterson challenges the typical “redemption” narrative and our assumptions about justice. With vulnerability and insight, he uncovers the many cages—from the daily violence and trauma of poverty, to policing, to enforced masculinity, and the brutality of incarceration—created and maintained by American society.

Bird Uncaged is a twenty-first-century abolitionist memoir, and a powerful debut that demands a shift from punishment to healing, an end to prisons, and a new vision of justice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781645036500
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 04/13/2021
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: eBook
Sales rank: 986,321
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Marlon Peterson is the principal of The Precedential Group, a social justice consulting firm. He is host of the Decarcerated Podcast, a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and a 2015 recipient of the Soros Justice Fellowship. Ebony Magazine has named him one of America's 100 most influential and inspiring leaders in the Black community. His TED Talk, "Am I not human? a call for criminal justice reform," has over 1.2 million views. He contributed to Kiese Laymon's How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America and Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin's How We Fight White Supremacy. His writing has appeared in Ebony, The Nation, USA Today, Colorlines, and more. A graduate of New York University, he lives in Brooklyn and plays the steelpan during the summer.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Hiding 1

Chapter 2 Move On 15

Chapter 3 Losing My Religion 29

Chapter 4 Dash 49

Chapter 5 Okay 55

Chapter 6 911 79

Chapter 7 9/11 89

Chapter 8 Sponge 105

Chapter 9 Freeish 135

Chapter 10 Bridging the Gap 147

Chapter 11 Decarcerated 169

Chapter 12 Pens from the Pen 185

Chapter 13 Un-American and Free 193

Acknowledgments 203

Notes 207

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