The Trayvon Generation

Grand Central. Apr. 2022. 160p. ISBN 9781538737897. $22. SOC SCI
Pulitzer Prize–nominated poet and scholar of African American studies Alexander (The Light of the World) eloquently writes about the importance of bearing witness to the violence directed against Black people in the United States. She addresses parenting and protecting the young people whom she calls the “Trayvon Generation,” who witnessed the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and many others via videos on their cell phones. Alexander deftly touches on many other important topics related to violence against Black people, by examining how American society normalizes white supremacy—a fundamental problem that Black people have faced since enslaved people were brought to the U.S. Alexander cleverly reminds readers that Confederate flags flew at the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, while throughout the country, Americans are constantly surrounded by portraits of slaveholding Founding Fathers and university founders. What is most striking is the way Alexander incorporates the value of public art, poetry, dance, and writing as central to memorializing and commemorating Black history and events. Alexander argues that white supremacy in the United States cannot be fixed by Black people alone; it must be reckoned with by all of society.
VERDICT A very moving short book that seeks to challenge readers’ assumptions about American society; highly recommended for all libraries and for reading groups.
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