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A.D. Carson's Last Trip To Springfield

Rachel Otwell
A.D. Carson at the Amaranth Apple Festival, 2017

First thing - the title of this post is not to suggest A.D. Carson won't ever be in Springfield again, but the bulk of this conversation comes from his latest visit, earlier this summer. 

Carson has lived in various cities and towns across Illinois throughout his life. After high school, he spent years studying and teaching in Springfield. In July, he performed steps away from the Old State Capitol during the Amaranth Apple Festival. This conversation took place there - weeks before the deadly events in Charlottesville, which Carson witnessed. He just started at the University of Virginia as a professor of "Hip-Hop & The Global South." During this interview, he discusses the oppressive, racist legacies present across the country, often on university campuses and in academia. His poem 'See The Stripes' takes on the white supremacist roots of Clemson University in South Carolina, which is where he earned his doctorate degree.

Click here to find out more about Carson's multi-media dissertation, 'Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes & Revolutions.' Carson says the events in Charlottesville re-affirmed the necessity of his focus. He talks about the importance of looking outside of traditional narratives when it comes to understanding race relations in this country. "It makes me realize this is not just a question of research or scholarship, this is a question of how we choose to live our lives ... how we're going to co-exist, for some of us - how we're going to exist." 

Below is a video from the performance in Springfield this July; recorded and edited by Carter Staley. Strong language is used.

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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