The Trayvon Generation|Book Spotlight

The Trayvon Generation – Published 2022

“In the midst of civil unrest in the summer of 2020 and following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, Elizabeth Alexander—one of the great literary voices of our time—turned a mother’s eye to her sons’ and students’ generation and wrote a celebrated and moving reflection on the challenges facing young Black America. Originally published in the New Yorker, the essay incisively and lovingly observed the experiences, attitudes, and cultural expressions of what she referred to as the Trayvon Generation, who even as children could not be shielded from the brutality that has affected the lives of so many Black people.

The Trayvon Generation expands the viral essay that spoke so resonantly to the persistence of race as an ongoing issue at the center of the American experience. Alexander looks both to our past and our future with profound insight, brilliant analysis, and mighty heart, interweaving her voice with groundbreaking works of art by some of our most extraordinary artists. At this crucial time in American history when we reckon with who we are as a nation and how we move forward, Alexander’s lyrical prose gives us perspective informed by historical understanding, her lifelong devotion to education, and an intimate grasp of the visioning power of art.

This breathtaking  book is essential reading and an expression of both the tragedies and hopes for the young people of this era that is sure to be embraced by those who are leading the movement for change and anyone rising to meet the moment.” – Goodreads


Thank you Grand Central Publishing for the ARC!

130 pages, and each one will take your breath away. This book is not for me, a white woman, to review, but I will say that it is powerful and important. It was originally an essay, and woven in are poems and photos that add to its intensity. Below is a poem from Clint Smith:

Today, a black man who was once a black boy

like you got down on one of his knees & laid

his helmet on the grass as this country sange

its ode to the promise it never kept

& the woman in the grocery store line in front

of us is on the phone & she is telling someone

on the other line that this black man who was

once a black boy like you should be grateful

we live in a country where people aren’t killed

for things like this you know she says, in some places

they would hang you for such a blatant act of


maybe he should go live there instead of here so

he can

appreciate what he has & then she turns around

& sees you sitting in the grocery cart surrounded

by lettuce & yogurt & frozen chicken thighs

& you smile at her with your toothless gum smile

& she says that you are the cutest baby she has

ever seen & tells me how I must feel so lucky

to have such a beautiful baby boy & I thank her

for her kind words even though I should not

thank her because I know that you will not always

be a black boy but one day you may be a black man

& you may decide your country hasn’t kept

its promise to you either & this woman or another

like her will forget that you were ever this boy & they

will make you into something else & tell you

to be grateful for what youv’e been given

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s