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Boondock Kollage

Stories from the Hip Hop South

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Regina N. Bradley

Boondock Kollage: Stories from the Hip Hop South is a collection of twelve short stories that addresses issues of race, place, and identity in the post–Civil Rights American South. Using historical, spectral, and hip hop infused fiction, Boondock Kollage critically engages readers to question the intersections of regionalism and black culture in current American society.

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Foreword – Kiese Laymon

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← viii | ix →

FOREWORD

In 8th grade, six of us were shipped to this rich white Catholic school called St. Richards after Holy Family, our dilapidated black Catholic school, closed. A few weeks into the year, Ms. Ellington, who tried so hard to make us Holy Family kids feel valued, talked a lot about the work of Eudora Welty, a famous white fiction writer who lived down the street from our school in Jackson, Mississippi.

Ms. Ellington talked a lot about “historical context” when talking about the quirkiness and racism of Welty’s characters. I didn’t like what “historical context” granted white folks in our English class. If we could understand the weight behind what historical context meant, we could understand how Eudora Welty created fully developed, unreliable white speakers who treated partially developed black objects like “niggers.” I felt the weight of “historical context” in that white 8th grade classroom, but I also felt something else I was embarrassed to admit to my friends: I felt a literary tug towards the interior of Welty’s stories.

Even though there were massive boundaries between my imagination and Welty’s, her opening sentence to the short story “Why I Live at the PO” resonated with me: “I was getting along fine with Mama, Papa-Daddy and Uncle Rondo until my sister Stella-Rondo just separated from her husband and came back home again,” I heard something that I wouldn’t hear again in a short story ← ix | x → for ten...

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