Just wanted to send Author Frank Wilderson, III a huge congratulations for winning the 2008 American Book Award for his book, Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile & Apartheid (South End Press). I wrote an article on the book and a reading Wilderson gave in NYC in October for The Indypendent:
Wilderson, author of the newly published and highly controversial memoir “Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile & Apartheid,” offers an incisive view of how a liberation movement becomes a political party. He also reckons with what happens to a revolutionary who returns to a U.S. Left, mired in the politics of gaining access to the “rights” of civil society in multi-culti California.
I met Wilderson this past Sunday at a small reading at the Salon D’Afrique, a longstanding Harlem salon hosted by writer and scholar, Dr. Rashida Ismaili Abu-bakr, who gave a reading to about 15 invited guests. We engaged in a political dialogue with the author about the book, which intentionally does not offer a “what to do next” proscription for progressive movements in the U.S. or abroad.
“The Black demand is for subjectivity,” stated Wilderson. ‘But progressive political movements must have a coherent goal, but the reality is that the demand cannot be met by a coherent demand, like a civil rights policy for access into civil society.’
He modeled Incognegro after the 1987 autobiography of Black revolutionary Assata Shakur (currently in exile in Cuba), with chapters alternating between South Africa and the U.S. ‘The organizational structure comes from Assata Shakur—how do you write about a revolutionary underground movement, anti-black racism in liberal and progressive California, and also the use of poetry,’ Wilderson remarked.”
If you’ve allowed yourself to sleep on this book, STOP. Go get it.