Race, Class, & Immigration

The intersectionality of racism, classism, and immigration policy is as pertinent today as in the past. Who is deemed legal and illegal, afforded full citizenship rights or not, is almost always determined by master-class politics and race.

Keorapetse Kgositsile on Exile, Art, and Freedom: “What I write defines who I am”

By Alice Kim, Editor

Keorapetse Kgositsile, a world-renowned South African poet and activist, began his writing career as a journalist for the newspaper, New Age, a leading voice in the struggle against apartheid published from Johannesburg. From 1962 to 1975, he lived in exile in the United States during which time he earned an MFA in poetry from Columbia University and published his first collection of poems, Spirits Unchained, as well as another influential collection, My Name is Afrika. He became established as a poet in the Black Arts Movement, both influencing the movement and being influenced by it. From exile, he later founded the African National Congress’ Departments of Education and Arts and Culture. For years, his work was banned in apartheid South Africa. He returned to his homeland after the fall of apartheid and was inaugurated as South Africa’s National Poet Laureate in 2006.

I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing the South African Poet Laureate last month at the Without Borders conference hosted by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. His love of language, his no-nonsense approach to politics, and his big heart were easy to see. Here, Keorapetse Kgositsile shares his unabashed insights on exile, art and freedom.

Alice Kim: All these years, you’ve remained both a writer and a political activist. I’d love for you to talk about the relationship between art and activism, but first, why do you write? (more…)

Hip-hop and Ferguson: Black Rage, Don’t Shoot, Be Free


By Stephanie Shonekan In recent years, there has been a growing fear among some black music scholars, critics, practitioners, and partakers that its power as a significant expressive outlet for the community has been eroded. Commercialization, globalization, capitalism, media mania, … Continue reading

Cities In Revolt: Detroit


By Shea Howell Shea Howell, an educator, activist and founding member of the Boggs Center, shares her remarks from a plenary session at the recently convened With/Out – ¿Borders? conference hosted by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at … Continue reading

Rhetorical Bow Ties Won’t Protect Them


By Mark Anthony Neal | NewBlackMan (in Exile) Following the election of the first Black President, I recall there was the sudden push—largely among young Black college educated types—for Black youth to wear the part of the constituency that had … Continue reading

Serve the People at the Bottom: Yuri Kochiyama


By Scott Kurashige The following is a tribute to Japanese-American activist Yuri Kochiyama who died on June 1, 2014. I am one of thousands whose lives were immensely touched by Yuri Kochiyama. Not all of those people are Asian American, … Continue reading

Lampedusa boat tragedy: a survivor’s story

Repost from the Guardian. Last October a boat went down off the Italian island of Lampedusa, killing 366 migrants on board. What happened next? This is the story of Fanus, a survivor and one of thousands of people who flee Eritrea every year … Continue reading