The critically lauded author of The Beast Side and The Cook Up returns with an existential look at life in low-income black communities, while also offering a new framework for how we can improve the conversations occuring about them.
While author D. Watkins is pleased about the number of books exploring issues of race that are being published, there’s one crucial aspect of contemporary black life that doesn’t get enough attention: the hood. The Baltimore native knows firsthand what it means to live in poverty, where violence and drugs are inescapable. As he sees it, the perspective of people who live in poor black communities is largely absent from the work of many of the top intellectuals who speak and write about race.
Now, D. Watkins is here to tell his truth. Built upon Watkins's own experiences, We Speak for Ourselves eases us into the bigger conversation about race and the various issues affecting poor black neighborhoods in America. Unapologetic and eye-opening, We Speak for Ourselves identifies and addresses a range of issues affecting these low-income communities—such as the trouble with misrepresentation and why we need more than one black voice—and sheds light on the harsh realities of daily life. Additionally, Watkins examines various crucial activist movements, including the Civil Rights Movement, and asks what it means to be a model activist in today’s world.
Through the personal retelling of his journey, Watkins aims to illuminate the lessons he’s learned navigating through two very distinct worlds—the hood and the elite sanctums of the prominent black thinkers and public figures—in hopes of providing actionable solutions.
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About the Author
D. Watkins is editor-at-large for Salon. He’s also a college professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. His work has been published in The New York Times, Guardian, Rolling Stone, and other publications. Watkins is the author of The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir and The Beast Side: Living (and Dying) While Black in America. He lives in East Baltimore.