A project of Brooklyn Historical Society
Writings from Racial Realities
Racial Realities class meeting in the Othmer Library at Brooklyn Historical Society. Photograph by Willie Davis for BHS, 2013. Click to enlarge

This last spring, I developed and taught the class Racial Realities: Writing About Race in the First Person as part of Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations' programming series. The literature and writing workshop focused on fiction, memoir, oral history, and essay forms that reflected experiences of race and identity from a variety of historical periods and cultural perspectives.

The readings were organized around themes—Race, Language, Family and Identity; Race and Adolescence; Race and Place; and Race in America—which students then used as a model to explore their own points of view and memories though writing.

At the end of the eight-week class, they revised and edited their favorite pieces, which we've collected here into an online journal.

In the following collection, writers explore: Blackness, Americanness, international identities, sexism and dating, memories and memorials of war, going back home, 9/11, changing Brooklyn neighborhoods, Barack Obama, middle school dances and adolescent friendships, and the Brooklyn Dodgers