Maya Angelou’s “Champion of the World” is a powerful personal narrative about race and the victimization of African Americans in the 1930s. (1), Brent Staples’s “Black Men in Public Space” offers a more contemporary look at race and its connection to violence and humiliation in 1980s. (2) Angelou represents race on a symbolic level with the figure of Joe Louis, Staples describes race on a personal level in the discussion of his “unwieldy inheritance.” (3), Joe Louis is the victim fighting against an oppressive force. (4), Brent Staples is the apparent victimizer fighting against the stereotypes forced upon him by his skin color. (5), these stories about race and dealing with adversity conclude with meaningful revelations. (6) authors learn something valuable about their experience as African Americans. (7), they learn the importance of maintaining individual pride and enacting change. (8), that change emerges when a community fights back. (9), that change emerges when an individual engages in passive protest.