The calendar returns to May. A year ago in 2020, the road to The Black Experience in America: The Course started for me. That’s when Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, and a bunch of things collided that I’d been reading and thinking about. I’d been writing a memoir about my high school journey, which spanned fall 1990 to spring 1994 (stay tuned for that); the Rodney King beating was in my freshman year and the O.J. Bronco chase was less than a month after my graduation. For me as a teenaged Black male, both King and Simpson had become cautionary tales. King lived on the fringe, Simpson in the spotlight; both ended up getting chased by police down L.A. highways and exposing America’s unsettled relationship with race. As I tried to flesh out the story in 2020, I also read Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison and revisited Richard Wright. I reflected on culture and history.
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