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My Vanishing Country

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New York Times Bestseller

What J. D. Vance did for Appalachia with Hillbilly Elegy, CNN analyst and one of the youngest state representatives in South Carolina history Bakari Sellers does for the rural South, in this important book that illuminates the lives of America’s forgotten black working-class men and women.

Part memoir, part historical and cultural analysis, My Vanishing Country is an eye-opening journey through the South's past, present, and future.

Anchored in in Bakari Seller’s hometown of Denmark, South Carolina, Country illuminates the pride and pain that continues to fertilize the soil of one of the poorest states in the nation. He traces his father’s rise to become, friend of Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King, a civil rights hero, and member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) , to explore the plight of the South's dwindling rural, black working class—many of whom can trace their ancestry back for seven generations.

In his poetic personal history, we are awakened to the crisis affecting the other “Forgotten Men & Women,” who the media seldom acknowledges. For Sellers, these are his family members, neighbors, and friends. He humanizes the struggles that shape their lives: to gain access to healthcare as rural hospitals disappear; to make ends meet as the factories they have relied on shut down and move overseas; to hold on to precious traditions as their towns erode; to forge a path forward without succumbing to despair.

My Vanishing Country is also a love letter to fatherhood—to Sellers' father, his lodestar, whose life lessons have shaped him, and to his newborn twins, who he hopes will embrace the Sellers family name and honor its legacy.

ISBN-13: 9780062917461

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: 05-18-2021

Pages: 240

Product Dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Bakari Sellers made history in 2006 when, at just twenty-two years old, he defeated a twenty-six-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. In 2014 he was the Democratic Nominee for Lieutenant Governor in the state of South Carolina. Sellers is a CNN political analyst and served in the South Carolina state legislature. Recently named to ’s “40 Under 40” list, he is also a practicing attorney who fights to give a voice to the voiceless.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Black, Country, and Proud 1

I The Wounds Have Not Healed: "Don't Be a Dead Hero" 19

II Black and Forgotten 41

III School Daze: The Making of a Morehouse Man 65

IV The Making of a Politician, Part 1 81

V The Making of a Politician, Part 2 95

VI Dreaming with My Eyes Open: Becoming a Leader 109

VII Risk Taking 127

VIII Anxiety: A Black Man's Superpower 151

IX A Voice for the Voiceless 169

X Why Are the Strongest Women in the World Dying? 189

XI Why 2016 Happened and the Power of Rhetoric 205

Afterword 219

Dear Donor Family 223

Acknowledgments 225