In the essays collected in Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine, Emily Bernard writes about her experience as a black woman raised in Nashville. Now a long-time resident of Vermont, she explores what it means to be a mother of twin adopted daughters from Ethiopia, the wife of a white man, and a thoughtful human being determined to get at the complicated truth of her identity.
“Blackness is an art, not a science. It is a paradox: intangible and visceral; a situation and a story. It is the thread that connects these essays, but its significance as an experience emerges randomly, unpredictably . . . Race is the story of my life, and therefore black is the body of this book.”
Emily Bernard received her PhD in American studies from Yale University. She has been the recipient of grants from the Ford Foundation, the NEH, and a W. E. B. Du Bois Resident Fellowship at Harvard University. Her essays have been published in journals and anthologies, among them The American Scholar, Best American Essays, and Best African American Essays. She is the Julian Lindsay Green & Good Professor of English at the University of Vermont.
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An extraordinary, exquisitely written memoir (of sorts) that looks at race--in a fearless, penetrating, honest, true way--in twelve telltale, connected, deeply personal essays that explore, up-close, the complexities and paradoxes, the haunting memories and ambushing realities of growing up black in the South with a family name inherited from a white man, of getting a PhD from Yale, of marrying