Black Lives Have Always Mattered


A Collection of Essays, Poems, and Personal Narratives
Edited by Abiodun Oyewole
JULY 2017 | ISBN: 978-1-940939-62-9 (eBook)
LCCN: 2016958430



SKU: BLHAM022017 Categories: , , , , , , , Tags: , , , , , , , , Product ID: 9476


BLACK LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED, A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS, POEMS AND PERSONAL NARRATIVES, edited by Abiodun Oyewole, extends beyond the Black Lives Matter movement’s primary agenda of police brutality to acknowledge that even when affronted with slavery, segregation and Jim Crow, racial injustice and inequality, black lives have always mattered.

This anthology of essays, personal narratives, poetry and prose is organized into five sections: “Mourning Black Lives That Mattered,” “Black Skin/White Masks,” “Black Spaces/Black Places,” “Black Lives Remembered/Reclaimed,” and “The Legacy of Black Protest Continues,” addressing a wide range of hot-button issues and racial disparities that disproportionately impact the black community. While written primarily by African American poets, writers, activists and scholars, selections are also from people of the Latino and African diasporas and white activists. Collectively, these 79 contributors provide a call-to-action that challenges readers to confront long-held values and beliefs about black lives, as well as white privilege and fragility, as it surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and its persistence of structural inequality. More importantly, BLACK LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED provides a first-hand perspective to a problem known to the African American community long before the Black Lives Matter movement revealed it to the general public: that black lives have always mattered. Connecting the past to the present, the contributors of BLACK LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED provide an eye-opening and engaging collection that has the potential to reignite a broader push for black liberation and equality for all. Cover design: Vagabond. Photo: The UNITAS program on Fox Street in the South Bronx, 1983. Copyright © Ricky Flores.

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Author Bio


ABIODUN OYEWOLE is a poet, teacher, and founding member of the American music and spoken-word group, The Last Poets (1968), which laid the groundwork for the emergence of hip hop. He performed on the Last Poets’ albums, The Last Poets (1970), Holy Terror (1993), and The Time Has Come (1997). He rejoined The Last Poets during its 1990s resurgence, and co-edited with Umar Bin Hassan, On A Mission: Selected Poems and a History of the Last Poets (1996). He released the rap CD, 25 Years (1996), published his first poetry collection with 2Leaf Press, Branches of The Tree of Life: The Collected Poems of Abiodun Oyewole 1969-2013 (2014), and the song albums, Gratitude (Sons Rising Entertainment, 2014), and Love Has No Season (2014). Oyewole received his BS in biology and BA in communications at Shaw University, an MA in Education at Columbia University, and is a Columbia Charles H. Revson Fellow (1989). Over the years, Oyewole has collaborated on more than a dozen albums and several books. He writes poetry almost every day, travels around the world performing poetry and teaching workshops, gives lectures on poetry, history and politics, and holds a weekly salon for artists, poets and writers in his home in Harlem, New York.

Press Kit

Download high-resolution photos, book covers, author bios, book information sheets and press releases. Please use photo credits where indicated. Right click on photos and book covers to “save as,” and download PDFs. For more information, contact Gabrielle David at gdavid [AT] 2leafpress [DOT] org.




Find out more information about BLACK LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED contributors.

Kimberly Marie Ashby
Victorio Reyes Asili
Dedria Humphries Barker
Tara Betts
Melba Joyce Boyd
Charlie R. Braxton
Lisa Braxton
Alan Britt
Kim Garrett Brown
Layla D. Brown-Vincent
Wanda Easter Burch
Anna Christian
Janel Cloyd
Ali D. Collins
Sean K. Conroy
Brittny Ray Crowell
Fikisha Lois Cumbo
Gabrielle David
Christina Marie Douyon
Melissa Dunmore
Angel C. Dye
Christine E. Eber
Gil Fagiani
Karen Ford
Clara B. Freeman
Stephanie P. Freeman
F.I. Goldhaber
William L. Harris
Emmanuel D. Harris II
Sean C. Harrison
JoeAnn Hart
Amelia Simone Herbert
Maria James-Thiaw
Esther Whitman Johnson
Cynthia Leann Jones
Je’Lesia Marie Jones
Quincy Scott Jones
S. Baltimore Jones
J. Kates
Bettye Kearse
Bernard Keller
Erren Geraud Kelly
Yael Kenan
Kwaku O. Kushindana
Shirley Bradley LeFlore
Felipe Luciano
Rasaq Malik
Michelle Mann
Kiara Manosalvas
Samantha McCrory
Ronnie McGrath
C. Leigh McInnis
Marcia L. McNair
Bob McNeil
Jesús Papoleto Meléndez
George Cassidy Payne
Michael Reid
Herbert Ricks Jr.
Debra R. Riley
DaChardae Roncoli
Ellin Sarot
Jeffrey A. Scott
Ammy Sena
Heather Siegel
Mary McLaughlin Slechta
John Warner Smith
Shanna L. Smith
Mark B. Springer
Ayhia E. Stephenson
Adam Szetela
Jason Nicholas Vasser
Carletta Joy Walker
Randolph Walker
Jalayna Walton
Vicki L. Ward
Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon
Tim Wood
Deva Rashida Woodly
Thelma Zirkelbach


What People Are Saying

In this anthology, we are not only given the opportunity to celebrate those in the struggle, but are given a directive to continue the struggle. BLACK LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED honors the ancestors, and gives hope for peace and justice for future generations where through policy and a new collective consciousness, all lives will truly matter!

—Dr. Linda H. Humes, Executive Director of Yaffa Cultural Arts Inc.

Part of the value of this important new anthology is that it keeps our pursuit of justice in America in historical and political perspective. It reminds us that Black Lives Matter is not a new revelation but a continuation of the Black social gospel proclaimed by Richard Allen, Adam Powell Sr. Garvey, Malcolm, Martin, and the many more.

—Bob Law, National Radio Personality

No history book, no single Black story, has yanked the rug of comfortable white ignorance from beneath my feet as these readings have. Taken as a whole, this book tells the story of America’s silenced racial trauma in a way that will fuel the movement to speak the unspeakable.

—Debby Irving, author of WAKING UP WHITE (2014)


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