Imani Perry, National Book Award Winner, has not written a history book - as she tells you in her introduction – but a letter. A letter of introduction to us, a love letter to herself, a letter of sympathy for the past. Each chapter covers a different State, Region, or City of “The South”, and within those chapters are dictionary definitions of slang, historic records, insightful interviews, and heartwarming personal anecdotes, as she tries to illustrate the complex story of the Southern United States like you’ve never heard before.— Gwyneth, Detroit
This extraordinary, passionate, scholarly, moving and disturbing book on the geography of slavery and its consequences will blow you away. You’ll learn facts you did not know — facts about our people, about our towns, about the atrocities and the greatness of our past — and perhaps you’ll revel in the personal stories we are told along this journey through the American South. Let it all help us embrace a common search to make sense of what happened and build a better path, together.— Jordi Martin-Consuegra, Chief Executive Officer, Hudson
An elegant meditation on the complexities of the American South--and thus of America--by an esteemed daughter of the South and one of the great intellectuals of our time. An inspiration.
--Isabel Wilkerson, New York Times bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
An essential, surprising journey through the history, rituals, and landscapes of the American South--and a revelatory argument for why you must understand the South in order to understand America
We all think we know the South. Even those who have never lived there can rattle off a list of signifiers: the Civil War, Gone with the Wind, the Ku Klux Klan, plantations, football, Jim Crow, slavery. But the idiosyncrasies, dispositions, and habits of the region are stranger and more complex than much of the country tends to acknowledge. In South to America, Imani Perry shows that the meaning of American is inextricably linked with the South, and that our understanding of its history and culture is the key to understanding the nation as a whole.
This is the story of a Black woman and native Alabaman returning to the region she has always called home and considering it with fresh eyes. Her journey is full of detours, deep dives, and surprising encounters with places and people. She renders Southerners from all walks of life with sensitivity and honesty, sharing her thoughts about a troubling history and the ritual humiliations and joys that characterize so much of Southern life.
Weaving together stories of immigrant communities, contemporary artists, exploitative opportunists, enslaved peoples, unsung heroes, her own ancestors, and her lived experiences, Imani Perry crafts a tapestry unlike any other. With uncommon insight and breathtaking clarity, South to America offers an assertion that if we want to build a more humane future for the United States, we must center our concern below the Mason-Dixon Line.