Life and literature reflect each other in interesting ways. As the trial begins for Amber Guyger (the Dallas police officer charged with killing Botham Jean in his own apartment last September), I have been led to read books about the aftermath of previous trials and grand jury decisions involving police officers, and how they affected the populace of their cities.
Lately I read the 2018 play Notes from the Field by Anna Deavere Smith. I had known about Anna Deavere Smith as an actress, specifically as the hospital administrator on Nurse Jackie. This play deals with the school to prison pipeline and its disproportionate effects on black and indigenous people of color. Ms. Smith wrote the play after interviewing over 250 people in different parts of the United States. Her transcripts include experiences from people around the Freddie Grey death, an indigenous man who started getting in trouble in school and ended up in prison, and Bree Newsome who pulled down the confederate flag in South Carolina, together with many other moving stories. Continue reading “Anna Deavere Smith’s Living Theater”