Elizabeth Alexander on 'The Trayvon Generation'

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Elizabeth Alexander attends 15th Annual Benefit For The Academy of American Poets at Alice Tully Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City. (Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

What does it mean for a generation of young people to come of age seeing other young Black people routinely endangered, attacked or killed? In her new book of essays titled “The Trayvon Generation,” poet, scholar and educator Elizabeth Alexander explores that question and meditates on the persistence of racism in the American experience. She writes that “the race work of the generations of my great-grandparents, my grandparents, my parents, and myself is the work of our children’s generation” – a reality Alexander says she both laments and feels enraged by. The book, which includes poetry as well as visual art, expands on her viral 2020 New Yorker essay that reflected on the young people who have always known stories like Trayvon’s – and George Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s and Philando Castile’s and…. We’ll talk to Alexander about “The Trayvon Generation” and her hopes for its future.


Elizabeth Alexander, author, "The Trayvon Generation"; president, Mellon Foundation. She is also a poet, scholar and educator.