Kiese Laymon On ‘How to Slowly Kill Yourself And Others in America,’ Republished
After the election, a tweet from writer Mary Annaïse Heglar went viral. It shows two maps of Mississippi, with the caption: “What y’all think Mississippi looks like versus what it actually looks like.”
The map on the left shows Mississippi colored in solid red. Next to it, the state is divided by counties, with many of them shaded in blue. But why?
What y’all think Mississippi looks like vs what it actually looks like. pic.twitter.com/oiWpvVklEN
— Mary Annaïse Heglar (@MaryHeglar) November 6, 2020
Heglar argues that Americans, particularly those living outside of the South, often view states in the South as solidly conservative.
But this election, many Black voters in Georgia and other Southern states pushed back by casting their ballot for Joe Biden as president. And they’re not alone.
In Mississippi, voters approved of a new magnolia flag to replace its previous flag that bore the stars and bars of the Confederacy.
And in his work, Mississippi writer Kiese Laymon reflects on his home state.
Here’s more of his writing in Vanity Fair:
75 miles from the armed confederate statue in Oxford, Emmett Till’s childish body was destroyed. 70 miles from that armed confederate statue, Fannie Lou Hamer was nearly beaten to death. 160 miles from that armed confederate statue, Medgar Evers was murdered as he enters his home. 80 miles from that armed confederate statue, Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis.
It took way too much Black death to get here.
I am wandering around the spiritual consequences of materially progressing at the expense of Black death. I want to be courageous. I wonder, though, when courage becomes contagious—when courage is credentialized, subsidized, and incentivized—if it is still courage at all.
Find our last conversation with Kiese Laymon here.
In his republished essay collection “How to Slowly Kill Yourself And Others in America” he takes on the messiness, richness and violence of the South.
We’re talking with him about the republication of his first essay collection and what it means to him to be Black and from the South.
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