When I was thinking through the idea of bad men for my book, three figures kept coming to mind: Jack Johnson, Leadbelly, and the unnamed fictitious black man who was said to have kidnapped a white woman's children in the early 1990s.
I thought of those three figures most by reading Cornelius Eady's Brutal Imagination (2001), Tyehimba Jess's Leadbelly (2005), and Adrian Matejka's volume The Big Smoke (2013). Those volumes of poetry, along with Kevin Young's book To Repel Ghosts (2001) on Jean-Michel Basquiat had given me so much to consider.
My studies on creativity and black artistic productions took me to so many different realms of thought. Along the journey, I regularly returned to Leadbelly, Jack Johnson, and that imaginary criminal black man.
This entry is part of a series--28 Days & Ways of Thinking about Bad Men & Vulnerable Black Boys.
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