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Sights & Sounds: Vernon Keeve III's PIcks

Joe Carrow
Vernon Keeve III

Sights and Sounds is your weekly guide the Bay Area arts scene through the eyes and ears of local artists. During shelter-in-place, instead of recommending in-person events, we're offering suggestions for ways to experience art and culture from home. This week, host Jenee Darden speaks with educator and poet Vernon Keeve III.

Daddy Was a Number Runner by Louise Meriwether

This classic takes readers back in time to Harlem during the Great Depression where 12-year-old Francie Coffin lives with her working-class family. Her father runs numbers because he can’t find legal work. She has one brother in a gang and another who wants to be a chemist. Francie has dreams of a better life too. Although the book was written in the 1970s and takes place nearly a century ago, some of the issues Louise Meriwether presents still plague Black families today.

The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker

Grange Copeland is a Black farmer who leaves the South for a better future.  But when he moves North, he realizes he can’t escape racism. When Grange returns to Georgia years later he has to face a big family tragedy, while also find hope. This is Alice Walker's first novel. Vernon Keeve III says the novel pairs well with The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.


All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson

This book features personal essays by journalist and LGBTQ+ activist George M. Johnson. In it, he looks back on growing up black and queer in both New Jersey and Virginia. Actress Gabrielle Union recently optioned the television rights to the bestselling memoir that is reported to become a series for Sony Pictures TV.

Vernon Keeve III is the author of the poetry collection Southern Migrant Mixtape, which received a 2019 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award.