Literary Nonfiction. African & African American Studies. Memoir. THE NEW PLANTATION: LESSONS FROM RIKERS ISLAND chronicles Trask's quest to cross the cultural divide between his students and him. While he is a white guy from rural Maine—among the whitest states in the nation—nearly all of the young men in his classroom are African Americans or Hispanics from New York City.
We see him break a number of rules, not only those established by the Departments of Correction and Education, but also many of the rules of tradition and, in some cases, common sense. We see him fall on his face time after time, but in the end, though his educational methods seldom meet the standards of orthodoxy, he connects with his students in a meaningful way, and in the process, helps many of them to pass the GED.
"THE NEW PLANTATION takes us into the chaos of Rikers Island, giving us the vivid voices of young men—kids, really—caught in the unrelenting grip of institutional racism. I found it riveting."—Monica Wood
"One story is that of a young man in the midst of bizarre, even outrageous interactions with a group of boys. He is inexperienced, but perseveres, learns, and overcomes what looks like a dead-end situation. The other story is about these imprisoned teenagers conveying a notion of their own racial oppression through dialogue with the same man, who is their teacher. The combination of the two is extraordinary."—W.T. Whitney
"It's easy to forget people of whatever age who have been disappeared by incarceration. Jason Trask doesn't let this happen. He isn't just an observer passing along statistics but is with these kids, a fellow traveler on the tangled up-and-down-and-around road that is the predicament of American life."—Carolyn Chute
Jason Trask taught English to young incarcerated men at the Rikers Island Educational Facility from 1991-1994. Later, he moved to Maine where he established and taught in an off-site alternative education program for high school students who hate school. He now writes in the Western Foothills of Maine where he lives with his wife. He has three adult sons. His novel I'm Not Muhammad was published in 2011. He received a BA in philosophy from the Columbia University School of General Studies and later attended the City College of New York graduate writing program. Upon receiving his MA, he taught English as an adjunct at CCNY, FIT, and NJIT.
Author City: NORWAY, ME USA