Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify: Author Carolyn Holbrook on her new book

“For me, the title of the book is about testifying on behalf of myself, my family, my children and adding to the conversation about the beauty of our people,” says Carolyn Holbrook about her newly released collection of essays, Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify (University of Minnesota Press, 2020).

In this episode, Lissa speaks with Carolyn Holbrook (in her third appearance on BMR!) about the collection which contains essays written throughout the last several decades. She discusses the healing and transformative power of telling our stories, giving up shame, and finding the power to be vulnerable.

Carolyn Holbrook

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Carolyn Holbrook is the author of several books including Ordinary People, Extraordinary Journeys and Earth Angels, as well as co-author of Hope in the Struggle the memoir of Civil Rights icon Dr. Josie Johnson. Carolyn now leads More Than A Single Story, a series of community conversations for people of color and indigenous writers and arts activists, as well as teaching at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN.

Go Deeper: Additional Materials

Listen: Najah Davis, Carolyn’s 17 year old granddaughter, reads a poem she wrote at the launch for Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify (audio courtesy of University of Minnesota Press)
Watch: the poet Lucille Clifton reads from her poem “at the cemetery, walnut grove plantation, south carolina, 1989” which inspired the title of Holbrook’s Collection
Learn: More about More Than a Single Story, which Carolyn Holbrook leads. It is a series of community conversations centering experiences of people of color and indigenous writers and arts activists in the Twin Cities.

About Us | More Than A Single Story

The series is loosely based on Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful TED talk, The Danger Of a Single Story where she warns against fostering stereotypes by treating one story of a people as their only story

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