Essential reading as America finally comes to terms with its racial past.
When first published in 2001, society apparently wasn’t ready for such an unstinting narrative. After it was published, The Burning, like its subject matter, remained unknown to most in America. That has changed dramatically.
“I began to suspect that a crucial piece remained missing from America’s long attempts at racial reconciliation,” Madigan wrote in 2001 in the author’s note to The Burning. “Too many were oblivious to some of the darkest moments in our history, a legacy of which Tulsa is both a tragic example and a shameful metaphor. How can we heal when we don’t know what we’re healing from?”
Now, 100 years after the massacre, Madigan brings new resonance to these questions in the reissue of this definitive work. Featuring a new afterword, The Burning places the Tulsa Massacre in a broader historical context. Rather than an exception, the massacre was completely consistent with that time in the United States, an era of Jim Crow, widespread lynching, and racism endorsed and promulgated at the highest levels of society. Such were the foundations of the systemic racism at the root of our problems today.
With chilling details, humanity, and the narrative thrust of compelling fiction, The Burning recreates Greenwood and documents the subsequent silence that surrounded the tragedy.