Dani McClain – We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood & Emily Bernard – Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother

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A longtime reporter on race, reproductive health, and activism, McClain, a contributing writer at The Nation and a fellow at The Nation Institute, has won awards for her work—including the Aronson Award for her Nation cover package on black maternal and infant health—but has also changed policy with it. In her new book, she focuses on the range of challenges faced by Black mothers trying to raise children in a hostile world. Drawing on her own experience as a new mother and on the stories of many other Black women on the frontlines of change, McClain follows a child’s development from infancy to the teen years, showing how parents can keep fear at bay and raise a child so she lives with dignity and joy.


When Bernard was a graduate student at Yale, she was one of six people stabbed in a coffeehouse. The attack was random, and while Bernard is Black and the attacker white, she read it not as a racist incident per se, “but as a metaphor for the violent encounter that has generally characterized American race relations.” In twelve powerful essays, Bernard, whose work has appeared in The American Scholar, Best American Essays, and Best African American Essays, explores that metaphor in detail, along with the complicated realities behind it. Personal and reflective, her writing chronicles her upbringing in the South, her education in the North, her marriage to a white man, and the couple’s adoption of two children from Ethiopia, charting “blackness at its borders, where it meets whiteness in fear and hope.”

This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.

Politics and Prose at the Wharf, 70 District Square SW