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Black Indian


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About the Author

Literary editor of Harriet Tubman Press, Shonda Buchanan is an award-winning poet and educator. She is also the author of Who's Afraid of Black Indians? and Equipoise: Poems from Goddess Country and editor of two anthologies, Voices from Leimert Park and Voices from Leimert Park Redux.


In this important memoir, Black Indian, Shonda Buchanan explores a hidden tapestry of Americanness, as well as an inheritance of abuse and addiction. The family watcher, Buchanan confronts questions of identity and ancestry, asking every African American to consider the question of who we really are. Indeed, Buchanan circles through a host of issues revolving around the conundrum of growing up with multiple ethnic strands in a society that tries to box you in by race. This book will speak to anyone turning over stones to find lost grandparents and great grandparents, to mothers and daughters and sons and fathers, as well as to those determined to heal cycles of violence in their own families.-- (04/08/2019)
Secrets have a tendency of dancing with silence. Shonda Buchanan's journey to discover her roots, to learn her identity, is not another American story, it's perhaps the first story. Black Indian acknowledges the past with all its implication of who we are as Americans. Our nation cannot walk a path of denial into the future. When we look into the mirror of history our features, our hair, and the essence of our blood and bone structure will provide us with the evidence and answers we've been waiting for. Shonda Buchanan has the courage to tell her story and the story of her family. Her story is our song. This book is muscle music. It can only make our nation stronger.-- (04/08/2019)
A poet and natural storyteller, Shonda Buchanan has crafted a rich memoir that chronicles the legacy of her ancestors, black Indians, or mixed-race peoples in America and throughout the African diaspora. While reading this memoir you witness the marginalization, invisibility, and scars left on the lives of black Indians. You understand the dream as a window into our fears, desires, and suppressed memories, and you are reminded of the complicated and blurred lines of race and ethnicity present in the lives of many people in the Americas. This is a memoir that will leave you thinking about the complex relationship of the black Indian to the peoples of this nation.-- (04/08/2019)
Shonda Buchanan's Black Indian is chock full with side-eyed women's voices singing Michigan history through blood quantum and bloodied fists. This is a midwestern testament with family as tattered, taped-up, and wrinkle-worn as all the sepia photos of proud, forgotten kinfolk found hidden in a nation's neglected attic. Witness her down-to-the-buried-bone American story, written with colors of swamp mud, sky, and blended skin by an author besieged and besotted with the gift of dream-vision. Listen tight and you'll hear yourself humming along like you've always roamed and known this place, this sweat lodged swung low chariot pulsing through your heart, and still you survived.-- (04/08/2019)
Black Indian is an emotionally draining memoir that is also resonant in its discussions of poverty's destructive forces.--Karl Helicher"Foreword Reviews" (07/01/2019)

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