This is a book by Ta-Nehisi Coates based on a letter he sent his son to tell what being a black man meant in the US.
An Overview of the Story
It is a narration of the author’s experiences. Coates reveals details of where he grew up and how he had to learn the street codes to ensure survival. He had a tough father, but now he realizes that black parents have to be tough so that they do not lose their children. In Baltimore, the loudness and swag that the men upheld was a means of announcing their existence as human beings.
Coates was not religious, and he hated his school, but he still made it to Howard University where his intellect was awakened. There was much diversity at the university. Here he learned more about the history and culture of black people. He also met his future partner here and some long term friends. Prince Jones, a classmate, was killed by an officer. There were several other killings that Coates reveals such as Tamir Rice, Renisha Mcbride and Michael brown among others. The death of the prince was heavy for him and filled him with resentment and anger. He saw the extent of how little black bodies were valued.
Coates reveals that the history of injustice against black people was not just during slavery but through police brutality, racial profiling, and the entitlement of the white people. He believes that the American dream fuels the destruction of black bodies. His son Samori, born of Kenyatta Kenyatta Mathews, gets a lot of lessons from Coates about the dangers that a young black man had to survive. Black people had to be twice as good at following rules and endured more struggle in life. Coates is pained that he cannot protect his son from the world but provide the teachings. He visits Prince’s mother and hears about the life the woman lived. The mother, Mabel Jones, suffered after the death with the knowledge that their country had no value for her son.
Coates concludes his letter by revealing that the dreamers of America will have to awaken. He reveals that there will be a reckoning to come and everyone will reap what they had sown. Black people had to accept their community because it is what they currently have. Their struggle adds meaning to life.