Essay: Skin found in Black Lives Have Always Mattered: A Collection of Essays, Poems, and Personal Narratives

BLACK LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED, A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS, POEMS AND PERSONAL NARRATIVES, edited by Abiodun Oyewole, extends beyond the Black Lives Matter movement’s primary agenda of police brutality to acknowledge that even when affronted with slavery, segregation and Jim Crow, racial injustice and inequality, black lives have always mattered.

This anthology of essays, personal narratives, poetry and prose is organized into five sections: “Mourning Black Lives That Mattered,” “Black Skin/White Masks,” “Black Spaces/Black Places,” “Black Lives Remembered/Reclaimed,” and “The Legacy of Black Protest Continues,” addressing a wide range of hot-button issues and racial disparities that disproportionately impact the black community. While written primarily by African American poets, writers, activists and scholars, selections are also from people of the Latino and African diasporas and white activists. Collectively, these 79 contributors provide a call-to-action that challenges readers to confront long-held values and beliefs about black lives, as well as white privilege and fragility, as it surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and its persistence of structural inequality. More importantly, BLACK LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED provides a first-hand perspective to a problem known to the African American community long before the Black Lives Matter movement revealed it to the general public: that black lives have always mattered. Connecting the past to the present, the contributors of BLACK LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED provide an eye-opening and engaging collection that has the potential to reignite a broader push for black liberation and equality for all. Cover design: Vagabond. Photo: The UNITAS program on Fox Street in the South Bronx, 1983.