A rich Minnesota literary tradition is brought into the spotlight in this groundbreaking collection of incisive prose and powerful poetry by forty- three black writers who educate, inspire, and reveal the unabashed truth. Historically significant figures tell their stories, demonstrating how much and how little conditions have changed: Gordon Parks hitchhikes to Bemidji,Taylor Gordon describes his first day as a chauffeur in St. Paul, and Nellie Stone Johnson insists on escaping the farm for high school in Minneapolis. A profusionof modern voices— poet Tish Jones, playwright Kim Hines, and memoirist Frank Wilderson— reflect the dizzying, complex realities of the present. Showcasing the unique vision and reality of Minnesota’s African American community from the Harlem renaissance through the civil rights movement, from the black power movement to the era of hip- hop and the time of America’s first black president, this compelling anthology provides an explosion of artistic expression about what it means to be a Minnesotan.
Alexs Pate, an award-winning novelist, playwright, and writing professor, is the president of Innocent Technologies, LLC. Pamela R. Fletcher, associate professor of English at St. Catherine University, has published works of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. J. Otis Powell! is a poet, performance artist, and curator working in an aesthetic rooted in Afrocentric lore and culture.