Open City Revisited

I’m teaching a course on NYC right now which has prompted me to go back to some of my previous NYC writing.

Back in 2018 I completed “A Walk Through Teju Cole’s Open City” for The Revelator. My name is on the article, but the piece is really a collaborative effort with Revelator editor Eric Schaller, who walked with me through Lower Manhattan and took the pictures that we used for the article.

What I haven’t mentioned on this blog is that our piece was cited in this extensive 2021 profile on Teju Cole’s work by Open Country Mag, “The Worldly Ways of Teju Cole.”

It’s been years since I’ve done a tour of Lower Manhattan. Between the pandemic and the kid I haven’t had much time for wandering around being a flâneur. But I’m hopeful that teaching this course might get me back out on the tour route so I can revisit some of these historic sites in Lower Manhattan and elsewhere.   

Black History Month

“What do you call a black man with a Ph.D.? You call him a nigger.” – Malcolm X

Two years ago I was honored with an award by my City Council Member for Black History Month. Last night around 8pm, a white dude who I’ve never seen before in my building, walking his husky dog in from the cold night, turned around and asked me at the front door if I was a tenant, as if he was not going to let me in if I said no. (I wonder what he would have done if I had said no. If I wanted to jack him up I would have done it already at that point anyway.) The fact that I hadn’t seen him before almost certainly means he just moved in. I’ve been here five years, and many people in the building know me and my family since we’re outside all the time.

I want to thank that dude for reminding that no matter how many letters I have behind my name, no matter how many college classes I taught that day, no matter how much I wrote or published that week, no matter that my wife and child were upstairs, some people will only see a nigger at the front door, trying to go somewhere he doesn’t belong.

Black History Month

Children of the People

Contributors to The Children of the People at The CUNY Graduate Center, September 15, 2022.

I am proud to be included in a newly published anthology of writings by CUNY students and faculty on race and social justice.

The Children of the People: Writings by and about CUNY Students on Race and Social Justice, edited by Rose M. Kim, Grace M. Cho, and Robin McGinty, is now available from DIO Press.

My contribution is a reprint of my essay on Audre Lorde, “Dear Sister Outsider.”

Back on September 15, 2022 I attended the book launch at the CUNY Graduate Center. This event page by the Center for the Humanities includes a full video of the reading, and more photographs from the event.

EDIT: I also meant to add this link to a recent podcast with some contributors to the volume. I will try to add more links about The Children of the People to this post as I find them.