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Black Utopias: Background information when reading One of Our Kind

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One of Our Kind by Nicola Yoon

One of Our Kind

A Novel

by Nicola Yoon
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  • First Published:
  • Jun 11, 2024
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Black Utopias

This article relates to One of Our Kind

As Jasmyn Williams and her husband King arrive in the fictional Black utopian suburb of Liberty, California in Nicola Yoon's One of Our Kind, Jasmyn reminds her husband "that Black utopias ha[ve] been tried with little success before." She names two examples of real-world short-lived utopian experiments: Allensworth and Soul City. While there have been many other historic Black communities, these two cities were intentionally utopian in ambition and design.

Black-and-white portrait of Lt. Colonel Allen Allensworth, in uniform with medals Allensworth, California: Allensworth was founded in 1908 in California's Central Valley by Lt. Colonel Allen Allensworth, with the aim of creating a place where, as Brennon Dixson writes for the Los Angeles Times, "Black residents could prosper free from racist ideologies." The town, which attracted new residents from across the country, boasted the first free circulation library in Tulare County, as well as its own school system, post office, Women's Improvement League, glee club, and train station — a stop on the ...

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