Stupid Black Girl: Essays from an American African

by Aisha Redux

Topics: Race, first-generation Americans, mental health, sexuality.
Citation: Redux, A. (2020). Stupid Black Girl: Essays from an American African. Street Noise Books.


Goodreads description:

Redux explores common themes to her experience of existing in a Western country as a West African. Born to two parents who immigrated from Africa, Redux faces the world in a way she deems alienating yet powerful. She covers themes such as spirituality, mental health, and sexuality as it is interlaced with her experiences of racism and misogyny.

 

 


About the author:

Image courtesy of stupidblackgirl.com

Aisha Redux was born and raised in New York City. Her parents emigrated from West Africa. She is originally from the Upper West Side, has lived in Harlem and has been a proud resident of The South Bronx since her late teens.   She is noted for her great capacity in conveying original insight through her writing and other creative outlets. As an avid culture seeker with an insatiable interest in global lifestyles, Aisha loves to travel. She speaks fluent English, French and Sou-sou dialect and has a unique comfort and aptitude for assimilation to any environment. Also, through these travels, she has gained valuable connections, a vast knowledge of cultures and the force to launch a media and creative projects that inspire and impact. She has written for  various publications and loves interviewing and  podcasting. In addition to her writing ability, she is well versed in pop culture. The creation of ‘Stupid Black Girl’ is a culminating out pour of her talents and inspiration.

 

Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Topics: American history, masculinity, police brutality, race, segregation, slavery
Citation: Coates, T. (2015). Between the World and Me. Random House.


Goodreads description:

“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”
 
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
 
Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

New York Times “Ta-Nehisi Coates’s ‘Between the World and Me’”


About the author:

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” He lives in New York with his wife and son.

 

 

Orange is the New Black (2011)

by Piper Kerman

Topics: Poverty, rehabilitation, women in prison
Citation: Kerman, P. (2011). Orange is the New Black. Random House.


Goodreads description:

Orange is the New Black Book Cover“With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before.
But that past has caught up with her.

Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424 — one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system.

From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance.

Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.” —GoodReads

Listen to the Orange is the New Black audio book free HERE.

New York Times Prison Life, Real and On Screen
NPR Behind ‘The New Black’: The Real Piper’s Prison Story
NPR  “Piper Kerman: Recipes for Survival
Slate  “What’s a Nice Blonde Like Me Doing in Prison?” (Book review)
Huffington Post  “Piper Kerman, ‘Orange is the New Black’ Author: What’s Real, What’s Not About Netflix Show
Huffington Post  “The Real Woman Behind ‘Orange is the New Black‘”


About the author:

“Piper Kerman is the author of the memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison from Spiegel & Grau. The book has been adapted by Jenji Kohan into an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning original series for Netflix.

Piper works with Spitfire Strategies as a communications consultant with nonprofits, philanthropies, and other organizations working in the public interest. She is a frequent invited speaker to students of law, criminology, gender and women’s studies, sociology, and creative writing, and also to groups that include the American Correctional Association’s Disproportionate Minority Confinement Task Force, federal probation officers, public defenders, justice reform advocates and volunteers, book clubs, and formerly and currently incarcerated people.

Piper serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association, and she has been called as a witness by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights to testify on solitary confinement and women prisoners.  She has spoken at the White House on re-entry and employment to help honor Champions of Change in the field.  In 2014 Piper was awarded the Justice Trailblazer Award from John Jay College’s Center on Media, Crime & Justice and the Constitutional Commentary Award from The Constitution Project.” —Piperkerman.com

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America (2016)

by Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

Topics: Hunger, poverty, welfare.
Citation: Edin, K. & Shaefer, H.L. (2016). $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. Mariner Books.


Goodreads description:

A revelatory account of poverty in America so deep that we, as a country, don’t think it exists

Jessica Compton’s family of four would have no cash income unless she donated plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago often have no food but spoiled milk on weekends.

After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen since the mid-1990s — households surviving on virtually no income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to 1.5 million American households, including about 3 million children.

Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? Edin has “turned sociology upside down” (Mother Jones) with her procurement of rich — and truthful — interviews. Through the book’s many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge.

The authors illuminate a troubling trend: a low-wage labor market that increasingly fails to deliver a living wage, and a growing but hidden landscape of survival strategies among America’s extreme poor. More than a powerful exposé, $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality.

Check out the full website for $2.00 a Day!


About the authors:

After decades of research on poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before—namely, that many of the people she was talking with had virtually no cash coming in. She then teamed up with H. Luke Shaefer, who confirmed a spike in the number of U.S. households living on less than $2 per person per day in the wake of the 1996 reform that abolished a federal guarantee of support to the poor and thereby ended “welfare as we knew it.” Edin and Shaefer then traveled from Cleveland, to Chicago, to the Mississippi Delta to spend time with 18 families, trying to better understand how the 1.5 million households living in this extreme poverty, including 3 million children, are able to get by at all.

Edin-Pic
Photo by the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Kathryn J. Edin, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, is recognized as one of the leading poverty researchers in the U.S. Noted for her “home economics of welfare” (Mother Jones), Edin uses both quantitative research and in-depth observation to try to better understand the lives of people living in poverty in the U.S. Her other books include Promises I Can’t Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage and Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City.

lshaefer
Photo by the University of Michigan School of Social Work

H. Luke Shaefer, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the Ford School of Public Policy as well as a research affiliate at the National Poverty Center, is an expert on Census surveys that track the incomes of the poor. His recent work explores rising levels of extreme poverty in the U.S., the impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on material hardship, barriers to unemployment insurance, and strategies for increasing access to oral health care in the United States.