It’s been a few months since I read Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. I picked it up because I was looking for a collection of short stories by a Black author that would be appropriate for middle schoolers. This is NOT that collection. Here’s why:
The court had ruled that because the children were basically loitering and not actually inside the library reading, as one might expect of productive members of society, it was reasonable that Dunn had felt threatened by these five black young people and, thus, he was well within his rights when he protected himself, his library-loaned DVDs, and his children by going into the back of his Ford F-150 and retrieving his Hawtech PRO eighteen-inch 48cc chain saw.
The chainsaw was to cut their heads off. Seriously. This first story (“The Finkelstein 5”) left me feeling sick, not so much because of its violence, but because of how horrifyingly plausible it felt. Brutally intense, powerful, and necessary, the stories in Friday Black speak to the horrific violence that Black Americans face every day.