What Kind of Bird Can't Fly: A Memoir of Resilience and Resurrection

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Pre-Order   Ships Apr 30, 2024

Product Details

$24.00  $22.32
Heyday Books
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 1.0 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Dorsey Nunn began advocating for the rights of California prisoners and their families while incarcerated. As codirector of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC), in 2003 he cofounded All of Us or None (AOUON), a grassroots movement of formerly incarcerated people working on their own behalf to secure their civil and human rights. AOUON is now the policy and advocacy arm of LSPC, which Nunn has led as executive director since 2011. Collective victories include ending indefinite solitary confinement in California, expanding access to housing and employment for formerly incarcerated people, and restoring the vote to those on parole and probation.

Lee Romney spent twenty-three years as a reporter at the Los Angeles Times, where she developed expertise in criminal justice and mental health. She is currently collaborating with a former public defender on the podcast November in My Soul.

Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar. She is a former Ford Foundation Senior Fellow and Soros Justice Fellow, has clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, and has run the ACLU of Northern California's Racial Justice Project. Alexander is a visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary and an opinion columnist for the New York Times. The author of The New Jim Crow and The New Jim Crow: Young Readers' Edition (both from The New Press), she lives in Columbus, Ohio.


Praise for What Kind of Bird Can't Fly:

"[Nunn's] memoir, written with the help of former journalist Lee Romney, is a shattering, deeply personal and brilliant description of his traumatic experiences and lifelong journey to address them, his thought process, and the collective action that brought forth national initiatives such as Ban the Box in job and housing, voting and jury participation rights for people with previous criminal histories and felony convictions, and the end to indefinite solitary confinement." -- Library Journal

"Whoever wants to assuage their doubts that radical change is possible--from the level of the individual to that of law, culture, and society--should make time to read Dorsey Nunn's extraordinary memoir. Follow him and those with whom he makes community as they do the formidable work of transforming themselves, while fashioning a new world out of their tears and laughter where all--including those banished to prisons--are equally welcome." --Angela Y. Davis, political activist and author of Are Prisons Obsolete?, Abolition Democracy, and Freedom Is a Constant Struggle

"Dorsey Nunn is one of the grand love warriors and freedom fighters of his generation! Don't miss his powerful and poignant story of tragedy and triumph!" --Cornel West, philosopher and author of Race Matters and Hope on a Tightrope: Words & Wisdom

"Dorsey Nunn's memoir is well-written, compelling, moving and honest. It is a movement history suffused with equal parts unconditional love and well-placed 'motherfuckers'. It is a story about Dorsey, but because Dorsey knows more deeply than most that nothing good we do is done alone, it is also an ode to so many others who have walked this path with him all these years. While it is a book about the devastation wrought by one of the most death-making institutions in our nation, it has far more heroes in it than villains, and far more hope than despair. In the end, Dorsey has written a love story that includes all of us who have been here and all of us still to come." --Danielle Sered, founder and director of Common Justice, author of Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair

"Raw, riveting, and revealing sums up What Kind of Bird Can't Fly. It is a front row seat to the author's transformational journey through pain, anger, and hopelessness to emerge with an iron clad resolve to love and advocate for those who society considers the least. While his approach may seem raw, brutal, or even vulgar, Dorsey cajoles the reader, as he does those who come in contact with him, to understand the birthing environment that leads a person towards incarceration, and to take a deeper look at our carceral system while recognizing the humanity of those trapped in its vicious grips. After reading this book I have a deeper understanding of what made Dorsey the man that he is today, and I have greater hope that those of us who have experienced the trauma of this world can become the healer of our ills." --Desmond Meade, Executive Director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition

"So much of what I've come to know and understand over the years about the second-class status imposed upon people labeled 'criminals' or 'felons' I've learned from Dorsey and the people who comprise All of Us or None, an organization he cofounded. Although I have fancy degrees and Dorsey does not, there's never been a time in our friendship in which he hasn't been schooling me--not so much in theory, but in practice." --From the foreword by Michelle Alexander