In Grandmother's Hands

The Write About Everything Blog

by Rosalind Denise Reed

July 28, 2021

In Grandma's Hands 3b


“I jumped up to follow her as all of her hugs came flooding back to me. Her love for me seeped through every pore in my body, and I cried for her for the first time in many, many years. Grandmother’s name was Esther. She was born in 1906 in Wilmont, Arkansas. She was one of 13 living children. A black woman who could have passed for white in her day. Arkansas was her home until she and my grandfather, Jasper, moved to St. Louis in 1942. They were part of the Great Migration of black people who came north from the south looking for a safer and more prosperous life. My father was their middle child, but I was their first grandchild. Grandmother died in 1987, and I’ve missed her presence wrapped around me every day since. She was funny, fearless, a chain smoker, and steadfast in her love for her family. She was proud of who she was, and sitting at her knee, I learned to be proud of who I was.”

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Review of an Essay

"The White Negro" by Norman Mailer (1957)

“The White Negro” by writer Norman Mailer is believed to be one of the best essays written during the 20th century. The essay was first published in Dissent Magazine in the Fall of 1957. During Mailer’s 30-year tenure on the publication’s editorial board, Dissent published many of his more controversial articles. In the essay, “The White Negro,” Mailer posits the original Hipsters (young white people) founded a new decadent, post-war lifestyle that wallowed in a despair similar to what black people experienced every day in America through sex, drugs and jazz music. The essay is a long, complicated read (the endless run-on sentences are discouraging enough), but Mailer’s thesis, though misguided, is interesting. My take: a lot of liberal nonsense, but a sign of the times that is still relevant in 2021. Read Mailer’s essay HERE. Then read my response.

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