A passionate, inspiring collection that will especially speak to Black readers around the world.

BLACK ≠ INFERIOR

A Nigerian poet reacts to the racism and despair he sees in today’s world.

“Black Voices,” “Black Excellence,” and, of course, “Black Lives Matter” are the titles of some of Akinyemi’s first poems in his collection. Born in Nigeria and currently residing in Britain, the author lays out his raw emotions in responding to the stories of oppression and injustice that have recently gripped the global media. His verses are often addressed to other Black people, celebrating their tenacity in calling out racism and reminding them to not discount themselves. At the same time, he does not understate the powerful, systemic forces they face. Akinyemi also confronts White readers, demanding that they reexamine their own actions: “Don’t counter this with All lives matter!” he says to those against the Black Lives Matter movement. “Black Lives Matter isn’t a mantra for your lying lips.” And for those looking to gloss over the issue, he writes: “Don’t adorn me with the shenanigans of diversity…don’t turn my volume down–– / this black boy won’t be your poster boy.” The author’s most stirring poems come out of his perspective as a Nigerian, amplifying the global scale of the racism he sees. “They said African Time is killing Africa,” he writes of the stereotype that Africans are lazy. “But Africans have endured more killings than time can count.” The shorter second half of the collection widens the scope of its subject matter but remains both topical and tinged with anguish. Akinyemi writes of the need for better understandings of sexual consent and “a novel virus,” which has “swallowed all in sight.” Despite his fiery anger against injustice, discrimination, and other problems many face, the author’s poems also deftly deliver moments of hope through his faith in God and, most importantly, by returning to the theme that his Black readers must remember their own beauty and strength: “I wish you can see the uniqueness of your black skin, / its glory shining like a dark armour.”

A passionate, inspiring collection that will especially speak to Black readers around the world.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-913636-06-7

Page Count: 67

Publisher: The Roaring Lion Newcastle

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

Did you like this book?

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more