The preface of my book Bad Men focuses on a quintessential, urban legend named Allen Iverson. Back in 2004, Iverson was very much on the minds of the first-year collegiate black men who took one of my African American literature courses.
Iverson was small but tough. Imperfect in all kinds of captivating ways. And while my students found various assignments we covered disinteresting, they all leaned in, so to speak, to read and discuss an article on Iverson.
The article and discussion led me to create an assignment where the guys in my classes wrote about bad men and urban legends. We all quickly discovered that everyone -- whether they were from Chicago or St. Louis, Belleville or East St. Louis, Springfield or Jackson, Tennessee -- had come across some urban legend or the story of someone who defied the odds, was unruly and yet admirable.
I had been thinking about bad men before then, but that's one of the many origins or routes of my thinking on the subject.
This entry is part of a series--28 Days & Ways of Thinking about Bad Men & Vulnerable Black Boys.
Note: For a 30% discount, use the promo code 10FEB23 when and if purchasing the book on the University of Virginia Press. (For February 2023 only).
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