Time's Up

Here are the facts of the thing:

RingShout: a Place for Black Literature
kicks off its new reading series
and celebrates the 2010
Brooklyn Book Festival

Join us for an evening of readings by four acclaimed African-American writers.

Ta-Nehisi Coates,
 Tayari Jones, Jeffrey Renard Allen and Danielle Evans
DJ Sounds by Rob Fields


622 Degraw Street (3rd and 4th Avenue)


Friday, September 10th 
  7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Suggested donation: $5

I greatly look forward to this event because of my respect for ringShout, and their commitment to supporting literary fiction and nonfiction by African-Americans. It's work sorely needed, done by all too few. With respect to myself, it must be said that I have spent the last six weeks doing the work of fiction--a portion of which I look forward to presenting on this date.

I have long grappled with how to tell you this, or if I even should. But given that so many of you have been essential to my understanding of the second half of the American Revolution, I don't know how I hold this one back. I went to college to major in history, and eventually dropped out. No matter. Here The Atlantic, I have--by my lights--finished my degree. 

Whatever my problems with this community, it must be said that it was not a college seminar which introduced me to A Nation Under Our Feet--it was my readership. It must be said that it  was not my agent or editors who introduced me to David Blight---it was my readers. It was my readers who insisted I finish Edmund Morgan, that I go to Virginia and see the places for myself, not an institution. And finally, it was my commenters who urged me to fiction. Should that effort fail, I will live. Should it succeed, I will not bow before the sages--I will bow before the crowd. This crowd.

With such a debt in mind, it feels like false modesty to play coy about my absence. I have spent the last six weeks beginning the long work of examining questions best suited for imagination and empathy. I have yet to arrive at much in the way of answers--but I do have questions. The substance of these I hope to outline for you on the assigned date, at the assigned location, in a most strange tongue.

My request is a simple one: Brooklyn, Stand Up.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it. They are repulsed by it."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus