Celebrating 28 Black Authors for Black History Month #Day4

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between The World and Me

Inspired heavily by James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Between The World And Me is a contemporary essay written by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the form of a letter to his son, Samori. In this letter, Coates shares certain aspects of what it is like to grow up as a black body in America. Coates interprets what it means to navigate the landscape of being black in America. In a similar fashion to Baldwin, he brilliantly cast light on the question of where God stands in relations to Black bodies that are subjected to injustice. Coates’ own Black Rage is vexed even as he articulates his quest for reshaping the understanding of Black bodies, for exploring how the The Mecca (Howard University) formed his thinking and what was profoundly released in his heart with the death of his classmate, Prince Jones. 

Throughout the entire letter Coates intentionally unpacks the danger society hurls toward the Black body in America. For Coates, the Black body appears to become the negotiating piece to entice a god who is, unapologetically, disconnected from the Black experience. Coates’ awareness of his surroundings provides insight to the extreme poverty and the trickery of the streets. Because he has a breadth of knowledge and understanding of the diverse black experience, he grapples with the conflict of a god that does not have the same understanding. If God was indeed God, then God would know that black people’s “being forced to live in fear was an injustice.”

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