Imani Perry Thinks You’re Wrong About the South
February 24, 2022
Our guest today is Imani Perry. Her latest book is “South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation.” In it she writes that understanding this country starts with the South. Imani challenges the idea of the South as a backward place, a repository for the U.S.’s shame over slavery, white supremacy, and poverty. To cast away the South, she writes, only props up a heroic self-mythology of the U.S. that fogs up the mirror of history.
Imani is based at the department for African American studies at Princeton University as an interdisciplinary scholar of law, literary and cultural studies. In addition to South to America, her books include “Breathe: A Letter to My Sons,” “Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry” and other titles. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama and while she’s lived much of her life elsewhere, she still considers Birmingham home.