Shoutin’ in the Fire: An American Epistle

Convergent. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780593239629. $25. REL
In this debut, Stewart effectively blends personal narrative and storytelling to discuss his experience as a Black man who has struggled to understand his identity in a world that primarily values and affirms whiteness. He discusses his formative years growing up in a home where Pentecostal faith and traditional spirituality were emphasized, and his college years at Clemson, where his self-identity as a person of value came from his talent as a football player. He then addresses his years in evangelical Christianity, during which he deemphasizes his Blackness and rejects his family’s spiritual faith and tradition. Finally, Stewart describes embracing Blackness and rejecting American exclusion, in part because of news stories about police brutality against Black men. This memoir includes fascinating stories about Stewart’s grandmother, who experienced racism and prejudice her entire life and was reluctant to share this painful past with her grandson. Stewart concludes by reflecting on the world he wants for his son.
VERDICT This faith-centered memoir will find an audience particularly among readers interested in the intersection of religion, gender, and politics.
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