Join Us #AcrossTheFence: A Day Of Family Healing, In Connection To August Wilson’s Fences » VSB

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Join Us #AcrossTheFence: A Day Of Family Healing, In Connection To August Wilson’s Fences

Across the Fence


Today, the #AcrossTheFence interview series with my dad culminates with two segments — one where I explain how and why I began to think and write about race, and one where my dad shares a story about his Uncle Wilbur, the first Black fireman in New Castle, Pa (and the man my dad is named after).

#AcrossTheFence (Damon explains why he thinks and writes about race) from Damon Young on Vimeo.

#AcrossTheFence (Damon’s dad shares a story about his Uncle Wilbur) from Damon Young on Vimeo.

Today is also my daughter’s first birthday. It feels somewhat serendipitous that the day marking her first year on Earth happens to be the same day of this national conversation about family and healing.

As I watch these interviews I’ve conducted with my dad — capturing a few of the stories I’ve heard before (and hearing a couple new ones) — I think about what type of father I’m striving to be, and how my relationship with my dad and my now-deceased mom colors the relationship I have with my daughter. My wish — shit, my dream — is to be able to have the same types of conversations I’m having with my dad today (and the same type of relationship) with her 30 years from now.

Anyway, if you are able to, please share images or videos or whatever you have of you and your closest family members, with the hashtag #AcrossTheFence. You can do it in the comments here, on social media, or even in private emails with your friends and family. And if you don’t have that type of relationship with your family, know that you have a family here.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • Happy birthday Lil VSS!!! THIS!! Just wow!

  • L8Comer

    Loving these interviews. Your interest in race and your parent’s being kinda surprised by it reminds me of my folks. They’re like how did you become this little revolutionary (at some point I was kinda militant)? But they both went to HBCUs and surrounded me with black literature and black film.

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  • Hugh Akston

    very cool to listen to

  • Congrats on hitting that one year mark for the first time. I know it was a really big deal to me when it happened. All I was thinking was “I just gotta do this 17 more times. Piece of cake.”

  • Other_guy13

    Happy Birthday Baby VSS

  • First, happy birthday to the little one. It’s going to get crazier in a bit. Trust me on this one. Those terrible twos aren’t a game.

    Second, I have a lot of those deep conversations with my dad all the time. While we’re different kinds of dudes, even when you take out the mists of time, we can talk stuff out like grown adults. Since I can’t really talk with my mom like that, I value that knowledge more.

    The realest conversation I ever had with my dad was when we were down in Barbados, and we were just shooting the breeze between the various activities we had planned. I was talking about how hard it is to pay the bills, and how I don’t make enough money. My dad said something to the effect of “Look! You have all this education. You have a job that most Black people don’t get. I know you have your struggles, but why don’t you be thankful for what you got for once!” I looked out on the beach, though about what he said, and replied “well…you’re right.”

    That’s a deep thing to think about.

  • TeeChantel

    Happy Birthday Little VSS! That was beautiful. And your dad is amazing.

    Also, to my dear VSSs, Kofi Siriboe is amazing in person. I’m tired, cranky, and drained from a late night in NYC but I got to see that fine chocolate in person last night. Got a couple of tight hugs, a kiss on the cheek, and met his momma. Kofi smelled like African oils and heaven!

    • QueenRaven23

      DANG! Man, he looks good. I need to watch last night’s episode

      • TeeChantel

        Oh, he looked so good!

    • Janelle Doe

      Oh,wow. Thanks!

    • Nik White


  • BeautifulSunshine

    Happy Birthday little one.

  • miss t-lee

    Awww she’s one today? how precious!!!

  • QueenRaven23

    Time flies!! Happy birthday to the little one

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