Event Calendar

Saturday, April 6, 2019

All day
 
 
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9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Social Hall
Brunch & Book Talk - Black is The Body: Stories From My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine w/ Author Emily Bernard
Brunch & Book Talk - Black is The Body: Stories From My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine w/ Author Emily Bernard
Saturday, April 6, 2019 -
9:00am to 1:00pm
Social Hall

Brunch - 9:00am-10:30am
Talk - 11:00am-1:00pm

Tickets and RSVP: https://blackisthebody-ethicalnyc.eventbrite.com

 "Blackness at its borders, where it meets whiteness in fear and hope, in anguish and love."

Hear Dr. Emily Bernard speak about her new, unflinchingly honest book, Black is The Body: Stories From My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine.

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 a white man from the North, of adopting two babies from Ethiopia, of teaching at a white college and living in America's New England today. From the acclaimed editor of Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten ("A major contribution," Henry Louis Gates; "Magnificent," Washington Post).

"I am black--and brown, too," writes Emily Bernard. "Brown is the body I was born into. Black is the body of the stories I tell."

And the storytelling, and the mystery of Bernard's storytelling, of getting to the truth, begins with a stabbing in a New England college town. Bernard writes how, when she was a graduate student at Yale, she walked into a coffee shop and, along with six other people, was randomly attacked by a stranger with a knife ("I remember making the decision not to let the oddness of this stranger bother me"). "I was not stabbed because I was black," she writes (the attacker was white), "but I have always viewed the violence I survived as a metaphor for the violent encounter that has generally characterized American race relations. There was no connection between us, yet we were suddenly and irreparably bound by a knife, an attachment that cost us both: him, his freedom; me, my wholeness."

Bernard explores how that bizarre act of violence set her free and unleashed the storyteller in her ("The equation of writing and regeneration is fundamental to black American experience").

She writes in Black Is the Body how each of the essays goes beyond a narrative of black innocence and white guilt, how each is anchored in a mystery, and how each sets out to discover a new way of telling the truth as the author has lived it. "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."

And what most interests Bernard is looking at "blackness at its borders, where it meets whiteness in fear and hope, in anguish and love."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Bernard was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She holds a B. A. and Ph. D. in American Studies from Yale University. Her work has appeared in The American Scholar, The Boston Globe Magazine, Creative Nonfiction, Green Mountains Review, Oxtford American, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and The Atlantic. Her essays have been reprinted in Best American Essays, Best African American Essays, and Best of Creative Nonfiction. Her first book, Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She has received fellowships and grants from Yale University, Harvard University, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Studio Center, and The MacDowell Colony. A contributing editor at The American Scholar, Emily is the Julian Lindsay Green and Gold Professor of English at the University of Vermont. She lives in South Burlington with her husband John, twin daughters Isabella & Giulia, Sammy the dog, a gentle giant, and Willie & Tom, two very interesting cats.

Visit her website at https://www.emilybernard.com/

Co-sponsored by the New York Society for Ethical Culture, Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island, Ethical Culture Society of Westchester, Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture, and the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.