The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Doubleday Books 320 pp. In his latest literary tour de force, The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead reimagines the network of routes and hiding places for escaping slaves as a literal railroad under the ground. He also returns to a narrative with a daring black female protagonist — something he has not undertaken since his first novel, The Intuitionist, which introduced Lila Mae Watson, a barrier-breaking elevator inspector.
Every time a video of police violence against black citizens is posted on the internet, we are confronted with a choice: to watch or not to watch. In a recent essay published on this website, activist-scholar Alexandra Juhasz considers her own decision not to watch what she calls “viral black death.” While I respect her instinct to avoid numbness and the overwhelming despair triggered by this violence, as an attorney, African American historian, and scholar of black masculini