About No Ashes in the Fire:
When Darnell L. Moore was 14 years old, three boys from his Camden, NJ neighborhood tried to set him on fire. Darnell was tall and awkward and constantly bullied by those who saw him as other. That day, the boys doused him with gasoline and tried lighting a match—but it was too windy. It was not the last time he would face death.
What happens to the black boys who come of age in neglected, heavily policed, and economically desperate cities that the War on Drugs and mass incarceration have created? How do they learn to live, love, and grow up? Where should they turn when history rejects their very existence? Darnell explores these questions in No Ashes in the Fire.
Darnell tells his life story, not just as a window into his own experiences, but as a testament to the lives of the black queer, transgender, and gender non-conforming individuals who have come before him. His writing is a celebration of radical black love—so often removed from our national narratives on gender and sexuality. As he excavates his memories, Darnell reveals not just the pain of growing up as a gay black man—beaten down and ignored by white and black America, by his school, and even his church—but also the supreme joy that comes from finding your calling and embracing your true self. With the enduring support of his family—both his close-knit relatives in Camden and his family of activists—Darnell recognized that his queerness was “magic expressing itself in and through [his] black body.”
In bold and inspiring prose, Darnell traces his life from his childhood in Camden, a city scarred by uprisings and repression; to his search for intimacy in the gay neighborhoods of Philadelphia; and, finally, to the movements in Newark, Brooklyn, and Ferguson where he found his voice and his calling as a leading organizer with Black Lives Matter, a movement that recognized him and insisted that his life counted.
No Ashes in the Fire is a story of beauty and hope, giving voice to the varied experiences of all those who survive on the edges of the margins. As he reckons with what it means to be free, Darnell charts a glorious path toward liberation.