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  • NYS Writers Institute

Rebuilding the Republic: "Why Didn't We Riot? A Black Man in Trumpland"

“In Issac J. Bailey’s book, James Baldwin meets James Bond—that is, Bailey performs a kind of racial spy mission, bringing back intelligence from deep in Trumpland about the kind of thinking that continues to have disastrous consequences for our country. Why Didn’t We Riot? is a very important book.”

-- Author Clifford Thompson

Today's Rebuilding the Republic event features Issac Bailey, award-winning journalist and author of the new book of essays, Why Didn't We Riot?: A Black Man in Trumpland.

A former columnist and senior writer for the Sun News in Myrtle Beach, SC, and a former Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard, Bailey provides an unflinching and personal examination of matters of race in the American South. The book addresses police brutality and profiling, battles over Confederate flags and monuments, overt and covert support for white supremacy and Donald Trump, and many other subjects. A former member of a mostly white Evangelical Christian church for 18 years, Bailey provides an intimate inside view of Southern race relations.

Kirkus Reviews called it, “A powerful lesson in history and truth…Through a combination of poignant memoir and social and cultural analysis, Bailey tackles a range of hot topics as well as his own prior complacency. A masterful storyteller…Bailey pulls no punches…Brilliant, searing, and surprisingly vulnerable.”

Bailey is interviewed by Dr. Alfredo Medina, Executive Director for the UAlbany Office for Public Engagement, and Associate Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Medina holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership from the University at Albany. Dr. Medina's research focuses on the experiences of AfroLatinx collegians, specifically in negotiating their ethnoracial identity—Black and Latinx simultaneously—while challenging ideologies that promote and perpetuate anti-Blackness in the Latinx community.

In his writings, Issac Bailey discusses not only the challenges of racial injustice for his community and its impact on his family, but also his personal struggles with a lifelong stutter, as well as a neurological condition called Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP). He credits these obstacles with helping him find the determination to speak his mind and express his convictions.

The event is cosponsored by UAlbany’s Office for Public Engagement, and Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

You may purchase his book at the local, independent Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza

Follow Issac Bailey online at


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