Mary Ellen von der Heyden Reading
The Descendants: A Novel
Ladee Hubbard reads from her novel-in-progress, The Descendants, and discusses a core issue in the book: the ways Black Americans have historically been treated as a threat to US public health and safety. Placing the 1980s War on Drugs in dialogue with the larger history of African Americans being mistreated in drug trials and medical experiments, Hubbard discusses the justifications that have been used for exploiting Black people as research subjects. She traces the roots of this tragedy to the barriers that precluded Black individuals from enjoying the full rights of citizenship. The Descendants also considers the parallels between the anxiety over external nation-state borders and internal segregation practices that have marginalized certain populations through Jim Crow Laws, redlining, and disproportionately sending people into the prison system.
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