In honor of Black History Month, I really wanted to seek out books that focused on the reality of being African American in this particular point in history. I wanted my eyes opened to larger conversations than the ones occurring around me. I wanted to understand.
“They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement” was written by Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery. Lowery is a self-described “black man in America who is often tasked with telling the story of black men and women…”
“They Can’t Kill Us All” is a compilation of stories from Lowery’s crisscrossing of America while covering the multiple police shootings that occurred during 2014-2015. He covers shootings in Ferguson, Cleveland, North Charleston, Baltimore and Charleston.
Lowery tells the stories of the people he meets, their situations and even throws in personal vignettes, such as the time he was arrested, along with a Huffington Post reporter, in a McDonald’s in Ferguson for not leaving fast enough.
Lowery’s background as a reporter and a black man makes him incredibly able to tell the story from a unique and cogent place. While there is so much data in research in this book, it never feels like he is just data dumping. The book flows with a remarkable readability and is endlessly fascinating.
Lowery seems to seek to answer the question why, in the era of the Obama presidency, are we, as a nation, still dealing with so many barriers on the racial front. I don’t know that he actually answers this question, but he does attempt to and the stories and vignettes make some strong points.
I honestly tore through this book. It was fascinating to read about these shootings through the eyes of a reporter who was on the ground covering them and, by proxy, people who were there and who were affected by the shootings.
Reading this novel was an experience, and it’s one that I think many of us need to have.