America Made Me a Black Man: A Memoir (Hardcover)
NAACP Image Award Nominee · NPR Best Book of 2022
A searing memoir of American racism from a Somalian-American who survived hardships in his birth country only to experience firsthand the dehumanization of Blacks in his adopted land, the United States.
“No one told me about America.”
Born in Somalia and raised in a valley among nomads, Boyah Farah grew up with a code of male bravado that helped him survive deprivation, disease, and civil war. Arriving in America, he believed that the code that had saved him would help him succeed in this new country. But instead of safety and freedom, Boyah found systemic racism, police brutality, and intense prejudice in all areas of life, including the workplace. He learned firsthand not only what it meant to be an African in America, but what it means to be African American. The code of masculinity that shaped generations of men in his family could not prepare Farah for the painful realities of life in the United States.
Lyrical yet unsparing, America Made Me a Black Man is the first book-length examination of American racism from an African outsider’s perspective. With a singular poetic voice brimming with imagery, Boyah challenges us to face difficult truths about the destructive forces that threaten Black lives and attempts to heal a fracture in Black men’s identity.
About the Author
Boyah J. Farah’s writing has been featured in the Guardian, the Harvard Transition, Grub Daily, and Truthdig, and on the Scheer Intelligence podcast at KCRW. He is the winner of Salon’s best essay of 2017. His essays have also appeared in Harvard’s Kennedy School Review, Pangyrus magazine, and the Huffington Post. He recently founded the Abaadi Center in Garowe, Somalia, which offers instruction in English, Math, and Science to students age thirteen to twenty-four.
“Unflinching and raw, Farah’s powerful memoir is a melancholic ode to thriving in a world that’s forcing us to simply survive based solely on the color of our skin. A searing story for our times that challenges prejudices and stereotypes. Farah’s unique and courageous voice highlights what it means to live outside society’s predefined boxes for Black men.” — Lọlá Ákínmádé Åkerström, international bestselling author of In Every Mirror She's Black
“Somalian refugee and writer Farah recounts a long record of dehumanization and racism in his adoptive country… An eye-opening, upsetting catalog of indignities that no one should have to suffer in a supposedly free country.” — Kirkus Reviews