It is true that 2021 ended with the loss of two black literary titans, bell hooks and Greg Tate. Although their transitions have brought mourning around the world, it is comforting to know that their legacy will remain on Earth through the wisdom and light of their books. These authors, along with Haitian-American anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot and scholar Shana L. Redmond, have made non-fiction contributions that advance black thought.
Their books are meant to be read and revisited over time so that the ideas they embody provide insight and understanding into the struggle of black people and, most importantly, how to survive and overcome.
“Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America” by Greg Tate
(Simon & Schuster)
Cultural critic Greg Tate’s essential first book is a lively and eclectic collection of his writings compiled from his years as a columnist at the Village Voice. Published in 1992, Tate’s book presents his visionary thesis on music and culture through a unique dark lens. Tate writes like no one else, he thinks like no one else and whether he explores the sound, style and musical details of jazz or hip hop, dissects black cultural phenomena or injustices or gives due to lesser-known artists, her voice leaps off the page and reveals her ideas in a hip, singular language constructed by her own soulful chord.
“Feminist Theory: From the Margins to the Center” by bell hooks
(South End Press, first edition)
Bell Hooks’ 1984 feminist theory manuscript argues that black women are left on the margins of feminist thought. Hooks argues that books like Betty Friedan’s 1963 “The Feminine Mystique” dealt with sexism toward middle-class and wealthy white women and that feminism as a whole fails to consider the intersections of race and gender. class. hooks challenges the whiteness of the feminist community and has been considered radical because of its expression that white feminism must be completely deconstructed and reorganized in a way that brings freedom to all.
“Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson” by Shana L. Redmond
(Duke University Press)
Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award winner, musicologist Shana L. Redmond examines the life and accomplishments of musician, athlete and activist Paul Robeson. “It follows its appearance throughout the 20th century in the forms of sound and visual vibrations and holography; theatre, art and play; and the physical environment,” writes its editor. It is known that Robeson was a great man and a defender of those who could not defend themselves. His legacy is still cemented through this book which breathes new life into the impacted and historic life of this artist.
“Trouillot Remixed: Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Reader” by Michel-Rolph Trouillot
(Duke University Press)
Haitian-American anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot is building a collection of his writings that reveals the importance and power of his work. “Throughout his career, internationally acclaimed Haitian anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot has upended key concepts in anthropology, history, postcolonial studies, black studies, Caribbean studies, and beyond.” This reader includes the scholar’s famous writings as well as lesser-known pieces and offers readers the opportunity to explore his vital contributions to Caribbean studies and gain an overview of Trouillot’s theories and observations on cultures and the field he studied with such acuity.