At a July 2013 White House press conference, President Barack Obama addressed the Black community’s anguish over the shocking shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The United States’ first Black president’s poignant statement underscored how the Black community views “this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.” This indelible set of experiences and history are at the heart of historian Peniel E. Joseph’s latest work, The Third Reconstruction: America’s Struggle for Racial Justice in the Twenty-First Century.
Joseph’s work serves both as a memoir and a historical analysis. It combines stories from his personal life as a child of Haitian immigrants with an exploration of the U.S.’s racial past that not only spotlights the historical contributions of Black women and queer Black people, but also sheds light on the present to bring hope for the future.
Joseph’s profound examination of the U.S.’s racial past and present is punctuated by a detail-rich discussion of how Black women and the queer Black community have guided movements for social justice and equality throughout American history…
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