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Jabari Asim: We Can't Breathe

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In Conversation with Wesley Lowery

Critically acclaimed writer Jabari Asim presents his collection of insightful and searing essays that celebrate the vibrancy and strength of black history and culture in America.

In We Can’t Breathe, Jabari Asim disrupts what Toni Morrison has exposed as the “Master Narrative” and replaces it with a story of black survival and persistence through art and community in the face of centuries of racism. In eight wide-ranging and penetrating essays, he explores such topics as the twisted legacy of jokes and falsehoods in black life; the importance of black fathers and community; the significance of black writers and stories; and the beauty and pain of the black body. What emerges is a rich portrait of a community and culture that has resisted, survived, and flourished despite centuries of racism, violence, and trauma. These thought-provoking essays present a different side of American history, one that doesn’t depend on a narrative steeped in oppression but rather reveals black voices telling their own stories.

Jabari Asim was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. For eleven years, he was an editor at the Washington Post, where he also wrote a syndicated column on politics, popular culture and social issues, and he has been the editor in chief of Crisis magazine, the NAACP's flagship journal of politics, culture and ideas, since 2007. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Arts and the author of four books for adults, including The N Word, and six books for children.

Wesley Lowery is a national reporter for the Washington Post who covers law enforcement and justice, and the author of They Can't Kill Us All: The Story of the Struggle for Black Lives. He was the Post's lead reporter in Ferguson, Missouri and covering the Black Lives Matter protest movement, and was a member of the team awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for the paper's coverage of police shootings. His reporting has previously appeared in The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

Earlier Event: September 30
Lit on H Street Book Club Discussion