ICYMI: The Last Week in Black Writing and Culture (7/9-7/15)

This past Sunday evening at South Park in Lawrence, KS, hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil to mourn the two latest victims of police shootings, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Participants were encouraged to share stories and give their condolences.

“A Man Was Lynched By Police Yesterday.” Artist Dread Scott recreates an old NAACP flag to draw attention to the rampant killings of black citizens by police. Scott added the words “By Police” to the original flag with the goal of “direct[ing] people toward the history of ‘lynch mob terror’ and how the police have more recently played a similar role.” Scott said, “I think that saying a man was lynched by police actually brings up an important history in this country in a way that I think people get.”

Christina Vortia of Bookriot created a self-care book list for African Americans in light of the recent police shootings. A few books to make the list are Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and Baratunde Thurston’s How to be Black.

This year’s Caine Prize winner for African writing was announced on July 5. Writer, photographer, and filmmaker Lidudumalingani won the prize this year for his story “Memories We Lost.”  The prize was launched in 2000 to highlight the diversity of African writing and show the development in contemporary African story-telling tradition.

Writer Shannon Cain wrote about squatting at James Baldwin’s house.

Poet Claudia Rankine, author of the award winning book Citizenspoke with NPR about the racial violence in this country.

Kenny Brechner reflected on the life of Lucille Clifton and her legacy of adding diversity to the world of children’s books. 

NPR spoke with three of the Black Lives Matter founders to discuss the paradigm shift they have seen in the movement. Opal Tometi of BLM said, “What we’re witnessing right now is a deepening level of commitment from people of conscience from all different walks of life. We’re seeing a really vibrant, multiracial movement for Black Lives. And we’re seeing it evidenced by the people who still committed to being in the streets this weekend.”