Join for LIVE virtual panel event featuring Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain for discussion on “Four Hundred Souls.”
BOOK DISCUSSION DETAILS
[Participating Authors: Nikole Hannah-Jones, Imani Perry, and Wesley Lowery]
Thursday February 11, 2021 7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
Joining Links: B&N national Twitter (@BNBuzz), Facebook and YouTube (@barnesandnoble) channels
About the Editors:
Ibram X. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News correspondent. He is the author of many books including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and three #1 New York Times bestsellers, How to Be an Antiracist; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored with Jason Reynolds; and Antiracist Baby, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky. In 2020, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Keisha N. Blain is an award-winning historian, professor, and writer. She is currently an associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, the president of the African American Intellectual History Society, and an editor for The Washington Post‘s “Made by History” section. Her writing has appeared in popular outlets such as The Atlantic, The Guardian, Politico, and Time. She is the author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom and Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America.
About the Book:
Eighty Black writers and 10 Black poets, 400 years of history, told in five-year increments — this is a work of counterpoint and panorama, a book wholly its own, wonderfully unique. Read it slowly and with intention, allowing the voices and histories to “speak” in conversation, author to author, author to reader. It is indeed the history of African America, but one clear takeaway is that “the true story of America begins here, in 1619. This is our story. We must not flinch.”
The story begins in 1619—a year before the Mayflower—when the White Liondisgorges “some 20-and-odd Negroes” onto the shores of Virginia, inaugurating the African presence in what would become the United States. It takes us to the present, when African Americans, descendants of those on the White Lion and a thousand other routes to this country, continue a journey defined by inhuman oppression, visionary struggles, stunning achievements, and millions of ordinary lives passing through extraordinary history.
Four Hundred Souls is a unique one-volume “community” history of African Americans. The editors, Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, have assembled ninety brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five-year period of that four-hundred-year span. The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes, and fiery polemics. They approach history from various perspectives: through the eyes of towering historical icons or the untold stories of ordinary people; through places, laws, and objects. While themes of resistance and struggle, of hope and reinvention, course through the book, this collection of diverse pieces from ninety different minds, reflecting ninety different perspectives, fundamentally deconstructs the idea that Africans in America are a monolith—instead it unlocks the startling range of experiences and ideas that have always existed within the community of Blackness.
This is a history that illuminates our past and gives us new ways of thinking about our future, written by the most vital and essential voices of our present.