Here in St. Louis and across the country, it has been difficult over the last two weeks to pay attention to anything other than the ongoing events in Ferguson, Missouri. The death of teenager Michael Brown and subsequent turmoil in Ferguson have sparked a nationwide conversation on race relations and inequality - a topic that Hold That Thought confronted throughout our series American Identities last fall. Over the next few weeks, we will be re-posting some of these episodes, as well as talking to faculty experts about their reactions to Ferguson.
In her collection Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays, author Eula Biss asserts that "nothing is innocent." Even telephone poles are marked by the country's history of slavery and colonization. Biss pairs the personal and the political in her writing, and in Notes from No Man's Land, she offers candid reflections on the role of race in her own life and in American history. Biss teaches writing at Northwestern University.
Notes from No Man's Land was first posted on September 18, 2013. In the podcast, Biss describes "The Hood," an essay by CJ Harrington. Harrington, a freshman at Washington University in St. Louis, wrote the essay for a contest sponsored by the university's First Year Reading Program.