Skip to product information
1 of 1

The Black Utopians

The Black Utopians

Searching for Paradise and the Promised Land in America (Pre-Order, Oct 1 2024)

Aaron Robertson
Regular price $29.99
Regular price $28.99 Sale price $29.99
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.

A lyrical meditation on how Black Americans have envisioned utopia--and sought to transform their lives.

How do the disillusioned, the forgotten, and the persecuted not merely hold on to life but expand its possibilities and preserve its beauty? What, in other words, does utopia look like in black?

These questions animate Aaron Robertson's exploration of Black Americans' efforts to remake the conditions of their lives. Writing in the tradition of Saidiya Hartman and Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robertson makes his way from his ancestral hometown of Promise Land, Tennessee, to Detroit--the city where he was born, and where one of the country's most remarkable Black utopian experiments got its start. Founded by the brilliant preacher Albert Cleage Jr., the Shrine of the Black Madonna combined Afrocentric Christian practice with radical social projects to transform the self-conception of its members. Central to this effort was the Shrine's chancel mural of a Black Virgin and child, the icon of a nationwide liberation movement that would come to be known as Black Christian Nationalism. The Shrine's members opened bookstores and co-ops, created a self-defense force, and raised their children communally, eventually working to establish the country's largest Black-owned farm, where the effort to create an earthly paradise for Black people continues today. The Black Utopians is the story of a movement and of a world still in the making--one that points the way toward radical alternatives for the future.


Aaron Robertson is a writer, an editor, and a translator of Italian literature. His translation of Igiaba Scego's Beyond Babylon was short-listed for the 2020 PEN Translation Prize and the National Translation Award, and in 2021 he received a National Endowment for the Arts grant. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Foreign Policy, n+1, The Point, and Literary Hub, among other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: October 01, 2024
  • Pages: 400
  • Dimensions: 6.0 X 9.0 X 1.0 inches | 1.0 pounds
  • Language: English
  • Type: Hardcover
  • EAN/UPC: 9780374604981
  • BISAC Categories: Cultural, Ethnic & Regional - African American & Black, Personal Memoirs, African American
    View full details