Presenter Information

Frank DobsonFollow

Presentation Type

Paper

Description

Black trauma and death, particularly by racially motivated violence, represents a significant contemporary crisis in America. Even prior to the Black Lives Matter movement of recent years, several Black writers chronicled historical incidents of such deaths. Philadelphia Fire (2005), by John Edgar Wideman, is a novel inspired by the 1985 police bombing of the Move compound and the resultant deaths of eleven Black people and the destruction by fire of a Black neighborhood. Those Bones Are Not My Child (1999), by Toni Cade Bambara examines the serial killings during the early 1980’s known as the Atlanta Child Murders. Rendered Invisible: Stories of Blacks & Whites, Love & Death (2010), by Frank Dobson, examines the 1980 serial killings of Blacks by Joseph Christopher, a white pathological killer in New York State. These works sound an alarm regarding the endangered nature of Black life in America, presenting sometimes overlooked instances of Black historical trauma. This paper will discuss how these works—functioning as both compelling literature and prophetic social commentary--shed light on Black trauma and death in the decades prior to the present-day Black Lives Matter movement.


Share

COinS
 

“Telling the Trauma: Fiction of Black Lives & Death”

Black trauma and death, particularly by racially motivated violence, represents a significant contemporary crisis in America. Even prior to the Black Lives Matter movement of recent years, several Black writers chronicled historical incidents of such deaths. Philadelphia Fire (2005), by John Edgar Wideman, is a novel inspired by the 1985 police bombing of the Move compound and the resultant deaths of eleven Black people and the destruction by fire of a Black neighborhood. Those Bones Are Not My Child (1999), by Toni Cade Bambara examines the serial killings during the early 1980’s known as the Atlanta Child Murders. Rendered Invisible: Stories of Blacks & Whites, Love & Death (2010), by Frank Dobson, examines the 1980 serial killings of Blacks by Joseph Christopher, a white pathological killer in New York State. These works sound an alarm regarding the endangered nature of Black life in America, presenting sometimes overlooked instances of Black historical trauma. This paper will discuss how these works—functioning as both compelling literature and prophetic social commentary--shed light on Black trauma and death in the decades prior to the present-day Black Lives Matter movement.