Patrick Phillips, "Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America" (Norton, 2016)


This episode of New Books in African American Studies covers Patrick Phillips' powerful new book Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America (W.W. Norton and Company, 2016) At the turn of the twentieth century, Forsyth County in Georgia, was home to an diverse African American community that included ministers and teachers, farmers and field hands, tradesmen, servants, and children. However, following the rape and murder of a white girl in 1912, and accusations levied against three black laborers, bands of white "night riders" launched a devastating campaign of arson and terror against Forsyth's black community. Expanding backwards and forwards from this flashpoint, Blood at the Root is a sweeping tale that spans the Cherokee removals of the 1830s, the hope and promise of Reconstruction, and the crushing injustice of Forsyth's racial cleansing. With bold storytelling and lyrical prose, it breaks the century-long silence of Patrick's hometown, and uncovers a history of racial terrorism that continues to shape America in the twenty-first century. Patrick is a past fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has also received honors such as the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Lyric Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America. His work has appeared in outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Poetry, Ploughshares, and The Nation. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches at Drew University.

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James West

James West is a historian of race, media and business in the modern United States and Black diaspora. Author of "Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr.: Popular Black History in Postwar America" (Illinois, 2020), "A House for the Struggle: The Black Press and the Built Environment in Chicago" (Illinois, 2022), "Our Kind of Historian: The Work and Activism of Lerone Bennett Jr. (Massachusetts, 2022).

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