Immigration Essays (Paperback)
C&r Press, 9781936196579, 138pp.
Publication Date: January 15, 2017
When Baker received a MakeWork grant to write about Chattanooga's unheard voices, Sybil Baker had no idea that her project would take her from the homes of Chattanooga's refugees in "Landings" to what Critical Flame calls a "Sebaldian travelogue through the Syrian migration route" in "Reverse Migration." From her childhood home near Ferguson, Missouri, to her travels as an expatriate living in Asia, to the troubled cities of Eastern Europe, Baker explores the physical and emotional wanderings of what Mary McCarthy calls "exiles, expatriates, and internal emigres."
"Adventures of a Fake Immigrant" and "Schemers" examines her ambivalent complicity in Chattanooga's rapid gentrification and the erasure of its historically black neighborhoods.
Using photos, literature, and her own family's slave-owning history, Baker excavates her own past as well as Chattanooga's to try and understand the ghosts that haunt her and the city she inhabits. With a poignancy that is particularly relevant for these times, the voices in this collection echo through the text and shine brightly through the dark.