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By Crystal A. deGregory

December 24, 2022

Magic and Mortal is an introduction to the poetic voice of historian and storyteller Crystal A. deGregory. Celebrating the nuanced facets of her Black girlhood, womanhood, and Caribbeanness, she expertly guides readers on a journey through the making of historically-Black institutions and their contributions toward cultural identity; personal triumph; collective joy; death; grief; and everything in between. Blackness is both a magical resistance and a mortal persistence, and deGregory leaves it all on the pages.

Crystal A. deGregory is a Bahamian diasporan, historian, and storyteller. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the historic Fisk University, deGregory earned her Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in history from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Education from Tennessee State University. Among her myriad professional and civic affiliations is The Tennessee Historical Society’s trusteeship and membership with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Known for her collaborative advocacy and entrepreneurial leadership, she serves as the founder and editor of two digital storytelling projects: HBCUstory and Dorian and Beyond—the story of Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas. In her first poetic collection, deGregory weaves a love story for Black history, culture, education, and the places and people who shaped her.

MAGIC and MORTAL

By Crystal A. deGregory

December 24, 2022

Magic and Mortal is an introduction to the poetic voice of historian and storyteller Crystal A. deGregory. Celebrating the nuanced facets of her Black girlhood, womanhood, and Caribbeanness, she expertly guides readers on a journey through the making of historically-Black institutions and their contributions toward cultural identity; personal triumph; collective joy; death; grief; and everything in between. Blackness is both a magical resistance and a mortal persistence, and deGregory leaves it all on the pages.

Crystal A. deGregory is a Bahamian diasporan, historian, and storyteller. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the historic Fisk University, deGregory earned her Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in history from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Education from Tennessee State University. Among her myriad professional and civic affiliations is The Tennessee Historical Society’s trusteeship and membership with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Known for her collaborative advocacy and entrepreneurial leadership, she serves as the founder and editor of two digital storytelling projects: HBCUstory and Dorian and Beyond—the story of Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas. In her first poetic collection, deGregory weaves a love story for Black history, culture, education, and the places and people who shaped her.

Praise for Magic and Mortal

“This offering, captures, connects, and convinces as it artfully frames promise and pain, happiness and hollowness, test and testimony. She moves us, unapologetically, through decades of our now to our next!”

– Patricia Russell-McCloud, Esq., International Motivational Speaker

“MAGIC AND MORTAL, is a compelling praisesong to Black women across generations. They are familiar and not so familiar historic figures, icons, organization leaders, activists, family members, women whose names we are likely not to have heard. We are also reminded of important happenings and institutions—-Katrina, Essence Music Festivals, HBCUs, Delta Sigma Theta, canonical African American books, celebrations. She calls their names, captures their significance, and we are moved and inspired.”

– Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Founding Director of Spelman College’s Women’s Research & Resource Center and Anna J. Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies

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Selected Readings from Magic and Mortal

You Covered Me In Love

for Marshall Alexander Latimore (1984-2021)

You didn’t design the cover, but
covered me in love designed for me a fortuitous future.
I hope these words, these pages, this book stand the many tests of time a testament to your limitless love for Black institutions
Black people Black women me.

Wendy

Whatever degree to which you
think I am smart accomplished kind;
whatever degree
to which you think
I am generous
to a fault,
with my time, talents, kinship;
whatever degree
to which I have managed
to mete out some success, some happiness, some somebodiness in this world;
whatever degree to which you think
I serve share love fight
endlessly—
Thank Wendy; blame da res’ on Harold.

Ayiti, May God Exalt You

Mother of Black liberation, true father of western democracy, may god exalt you your daughters, sons unborn
even as we watch your beautiful strong proud children drown in sloops bound for shores of unwelcome their lives are the costs of our freedom yet we are free to turn our pages and channels
from the gaze of your sufferings.
We are terrible and unashamed;
do not have mercy upon us.