In her new book, South to America, Glenside’s Imani Perry travels the South to discover keys to the United States and its foundations, changes, and tensions, writes Pamela Paul for The New York Times.
Perry, who is native to Alabama, approaches this sizable task from a variety of angles.
“It includes personal stories,” she said. “It is a book about encounters. It is a book about the encounter with history but also with human beings. And as part of it, self-discovery, to try to understand why a Southern identity is so centrally important to me, and why it’s so centrally important to the formation of this country.”
Inspired by Albert Murray’s memoir and travelogue from 1971, South to a Very Old Place, Imani Perry travels to more than a dozen cities and towns in the South while excavating their histories but also the modern realities. She does not shy away from recounting the atrocities, resistance, and documenting the consequences in the Southern United States.
The book urges a return to the often-ignored legacy of the South, the unrelenting struggle toward freedom.
Imani Perry is a Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and the author of six books.
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