Joy and Pain
A poignant account of how the carceral state shapes daily life for young Black people--and how Black Americans resist, find joy, and cultivate new visions for the future.

At the Southern California Library--a community organization and an archive of radical and progressive movements--the author meets a young man, Marley. In telling Marley's story, Damien M. Sojoyner depicts the overwhelming nature of Black precarity in the twenty-first century through the lenses of housing, education, health care, social services, and juvenile detention. But Black life is not defined by precarity; it embraces social visions of radical freedom that allow the pursuit of a life of joy beyond systems of oppression.

Structured as a "record collection" of five "albums," this innovative book relates Marley's personal encounters with everyday aspects of the carceral state through an ethnographic A side and offers deeper context through an anthropological and archival B side. In Joy and Pain, Marley's experiences at the intersection of history and the contemporary political moment invite us to imagine more expansive futures.

Publication Date: 
November 1, 2022