A Request from Brent Staples to remove “Black Men and Public Space”

I received the following email today:

Ms. Alley.
I hope this finds you well.
you have posted on your “write alley” website my essay “black men and public space” otherwised titled “Walk On By: a black man ponders his power to alter public space.’
The piece is COPYRIGHTED material and should not be posted.
Could you please take it down?

Thanks much
Brent Staples

Here’s my email in response:

Dear Mr. Staples,

I would be happy to do so, and will do so immediately.

My community college students all purchase a textbook, 50 Essays edited by Samuel Cohen, which includes your essay. My students write about your essay for a midterm exam and I put it online so students who forget their textbook will have access to it.

And since I have your attention, let me say thank you for the use of your essay during the past few semesters. It has generated many valuable class discussions and has also developed the vocabulary of my students.

best, gwendolyn

I’m disappointed that Brent Staples made this request but I understand why. I know what it’s like to feel like your content is stolen and distributed around the web, often to the benefit of someone else’s bank account. (Note I don’t make any money off of this blog; the money from any ads you might see goes to WordPress.)

I have taken the posting to “private” so it is no longer available to readers so if you click on the link, it won’t take you to the original posting.

Here is Brent Staples essay “Black Men and Public Space” which was first published in Ms and widely anthologized since. Not all versions are exactly the same. According to the site where I found it, this version came from Harpers 12/86. The numbers refer to the paragraphs; when citing this essay, reference paragraph numbers instead of page numbers.

1. My first victim was a woman–white, well-dressed, probably in her late twenties. I came upon her late one evenin … Read More

via whisper down the write alley

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