Unsatisfied with the relentless pace and narrow constraints of social media, two Americans, Winkfield Twyman, Jr. and Jennifer Richmond — a black man and a white woman — rediscovered the art of letter writing and maintained a years-long correspondence about race in the United States. In Letters in Black and White, they share their exchanges in full for the first time, charting their journey from wary strangers to trusted confidants.
At a time when many Americans are dazed, confused, and angered by the country’s current state of race relations, they offer a model not only for having those needed but difficult conversations but also for a better way forward. Marked by well-crafted turns of phrase, sharp wit, and sober reflection, they intentionally avoid those fashionable words and phrases that have been drained of real meaning or hopelessly saddled with excessive baggage, such as antiracism, white fragility, allyship, and wokeness. Rather, on topics ranging from the murder of George Floyd to the launch of the 1619 Project to the debate over reparations, they tell the truth as they see it in their own uncorrupted language, speaking for no one but themselves.
Particularly critical of the ideological battles that fuel media programming and entrench political rivalries and the noble-sounding social and cultural projects that fail time and again to offer any meaningful solutions, they identify productive ways to unify across our differences, to find our common humanity, and to mend America’s divided soul. Ultimately, they offer an inspirational message of hope and optimism for all — one that does not allow the past to define our present or determine our future.