DARKWATER: VOICES FROM WITHIN THE VEIL
In Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil, early twentieth-century statesman of Black-American discourse W. E. B. Du Bois weaves autofiction with poetry, social essay, science fiction, and Afrofuturist storytelling that presages Butler, Due, Adjei-Brenyah, Shawl, and Jemisin. Three wise men gather as a Christ child of color is born in a Georgia shanty; a reflection on World War I reframes its bloody legacy against the wages of Western imperialism; a deadly race riot in the streets of East St. Louis on the eve of the Fourth of July is revisited as part of a long continuum of exploited inequities, workers’ rights violations, and race hatred; and a post-apocalyptic New York finds a Black man and white woman, possibly the last two people on Earth, on the verge of a new reckoning. Du Bois plunges twenty-first-century readers into his multifarious and mysterious text, one that begs us to examine how the Black American experience has changed these last hundred years—and how it remains the same.
Originally published in 1920, Darkwater is reprinted here in a luxurious new hardcover edition, with full-page illustrations by Jamiel Law and a new introduction from series-editor Erica Vital-Lazare.
About Of the Diaspora
McSweeney’s Of the Diaspora is a series of previously published works in Black literature whose themes, settings, characterizations, and conflicts evoke an experience, language, imagery, and power born of the Middle Passage and the particular aesthetic which connects African-derived peoples to a shared artistic and ancestral past. The series is edited by writer Erica Vital-Lazare, a professor of creative writing and Marginalized Voices in literature at the College of Southern Nevada.