milfordacademy (milfordacademy) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,
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milfordacademy
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The 2016 National Book Award Winners Put Racism on the Spotlight



FICTION - The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead)

A novel about the horrors of American slavery and the sinister permutations of racism, following a young slave named Cora who escapes a Georgia plantation and, in a surreal twist, travels north via a literal underground subway. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Whitehead said he was drawing comfort in these politically uncertain times by focusing on the redeeming power of art.

NON-FICTION - Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Ibram X. Kendi)

A comprehensive study that finds the threads of racism as they wind throughout U.S. history and traces them from their origins. Even as he delved deeply into some of this country's bleakest moments, Kendi said in his acceptance speech, he kept his belief in that country and its people. "I just want to let everyone know that I spent years looking at the absolute worst of America, its horrific history of racism. But I never lost faith. I never lost faith that the terror of racism would one day end."

YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE - March: Book Three (John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell)

The final book in a trilogy about the civil rights movement and the life and achievements of activist Rep. John Lewis. It is the first graphic novel ever to win in this category. When receiving his medal, Lewis said: "The past week has mad me feel like I'm living my life all over again — that we have to fight some of the same fights. To see some of the bigotry, the hate, I think there are forces that want to take us back. I remember in 1956 when I was 16 years old, going down to the public library, trying to get library cards, and we were told that the libraries were whites-only and not for coloreds".

POETRY - The Performance of Becoming Human (Daniel Borzutzky)

A bleak collection of poetry that aims "to confront the various ways nation-states and their bureaucracies absorb and destroy communities and economies". It is a work that came out of "the idea that literature and poetry can serve as a means of producing a social and historical memory". Daniel Borzutzky, in his speech, spoke about his fears for the future of the country, particularly for undocumented immigrants.

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congratulations to the winners! have you read any of these yet, ONTD?
Tags: books / authors, race / racism
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