What We Are Reading Today: Racial Migrations by Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof

Updated 19 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Racial Migrations by Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof

  • In Racial Migrations, Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof presents a vivid portrait of these largely forgotten migrant revolutionaries

In the late 19th century, a small group of Cubans and Puerto Ricans of African descent settled in the segregated tenements of New York City.

At an immigrant educational society in Greenwich Village, these early Afro-Latino New Yorkers taught themselves to be poets, journalists, and revolutionaries, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

At the same time, these individuals — including Rafael Serra, a cigar maker, writer, and politician; Sotero Figueroa, a typesetter, editor, and publisher; and Gertrudis Heredia, one of the first women of African descent to study midwifery at the University of Havana — built a political network and articulated an ideal of revolutionary nationalism centered on the projects of racial and social justice.

These efforts were critical to the poet and diplomat José Martí’s writings about race and his bid for leadership among Cuban exiles, and to the later struggle to create space for black political participation in the Cuban Republic.

In Racial Migrations, Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof presents a vivid portrait of these largely forgotten migrant revolutionaries.


What We Are Reading Today: Places and Names

Updated 19 July 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Places and Names

Author: Elliot Ackerman

Places and Names is another spectacular piece of writing from Elliot Ackerman.
He served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“At once an intensely personal book about the terrible lure of combat and a brilliant meditation on the larger meaning of the past two decades of strife for America, the region and the world, Places and Names bids fair to take its place among our greatest books about modern war,” said a review in goodreads.com.
In a review for The New York Times, critic Anne Barnard said Places and Names “is a classic meditation on war, how it compels and resists our efforts to order it with meaning.
“In simple, evocative sentences, with sparing but effective glances at poetry and art, Ackerman weaves memories of his deployments with his observations in and near Syria.”
Barnard said Ackerman pulls off a literary account of war that is accessible to those who wonder “what it’s like” while ringing true to those who — each in his or her own way — already know.