Monday, August 31, 2015

New Anthology of Activists: Talking Back: Voices of Color

Black voices featured in "Talking Back," a dynamic new anthology by activists of color
Talking Back contributor Lillian Thompson
Talking Back: Voices of ColorEdited and with an introduction by Nellie Wong
$15.00, 240 pages, paperback, 5.5" x 8.5", index
Red Letter Press, 2015
Print version: ISBN 978-0-932323-32-3
Ebook: ISBN 978-0-932323-33-0
A new anthology, Talking Back: Voices of Color (Red Letter Press, 2015), presents an unusually diverse group of writers speaking out on issues affecting communities of color. Contributors share tales of survival, explore little-known history, and offer insightful cultural reviews. Nellie Wong, a widely published Bay Area poet and social justice activist, is the book's editor and author of the introduction, a striking meditation on the importance of "talking back" in asserting identity and power on an individual and collective level.
Like Wong, the book's contributors are involved in community organizing. Based in a number of locations, their identities include Asian/Pacific American, Black, indigenous North American and Aboriginal Australian, Latino, Palestinian, immigrant, feminist, youth, elder, LGBTQ, students, unionists, former prisoners, and more. Their aim is to communicate and mobilize. Speaking from and to the grassroots, their offerings are readable, persuasive, free from academic jargon, and rich with personal experience.
Black readers will find themselves represented in a number of articles. Duciana Thomas recounts her participation in the fight to preserve working-class education. School teacher Lillian Thompson shows how charter schools perpetuate inequality.  Mark Cook, a political prisoner for 24 years, describes the slave-labor conditions in U.S. prisons. Black Panther leader Eddie Conway speaks out in a prison interview. John Hatchett tells how he, as a faculty advisor, helped female students at Bennett College plan the historic Greensboro sit-ins. Sarah Scott reviews the novel We Need New Names, dealing with the experience of African immigrants. Ralph Poynter describes how his wife, attorney Lynne Stewart, became a political prisoner and calls for the release of all political prisoners.  Nellie Wong pays tribute to radical Black, gay poet Langston Hughes.
African American scholar, unionist, and former civil rights organizer James Wright calls the book "a treasure" by a "rainbow of radical authors." Alice Goff, a Black immigrant labor leader and community activist, predicts that even readers who don't share the opinions of the authors may "come away with a different perspective and possibly be moved to question the status quo."  Another reviewer, Arab American artist and writer Happy Hyder, says the book's "fearless and varied voices" reveal "the true meaning of political action." Sociologist Dr. Jesse Díaz, Jr. says the book will lead to increased understanding of the activist of color's "toils for equality and justice." Karin Aguilar-San Juan, an associate professor and Filipina American lesbian, describes the writings as resonant with "pain and rage… light and power and hope."
Talking Back: Voices of Color can be ordered from,, or request from your local book seller.

cover 4.75 inch 300 dpi

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