Law in Contemporary Society

Fort Exodus University

a cultural epic by Cole Riley the abolitionist writer Plot summary and Review by Cole Riley the afro pessimistic critic


“Your honor may I proceed”

“You may” she says without looking up from her paper.

“May it please the court. In the age of racial diversity and inclusion, the merits of HBCUs, like The Fort, continuing to serve a predominantly Black population is being called into question. Whether it satisfies strict scrutiny is the legal question - but the question in the court of public opinion is whether HBCUs prepare students for the real world. I am here to argue that they do…and that is exactly the problem. HBCUs (and education for Black students more generally) should not prepare students to assimilate into a status quo that violently opposes them - but it should give them the tools to dismantle it.”

The older black judge stares down at me. I know the look. It’s not disappointment, it’s disgust.

“Counselor, aren’t we here for a legal question.” she scorns.

“The legal question would ask me to converge the educational interest of young black students, with the interest of the United States government. It happened with Brown and it got us nothing but segregated classrooms and a disciplinary gap. I won’t make that mistake again. “

But you’ll lose the case. Son, you could be disbarred.

We may lose the case, sacrifice personal accolades, but we’ll win the war.

Plot Summary

The epic fantasy anthology series spans generations and the globe but centers the experience of people connected to Fort Exodus University. The Fort is a prestigious international Black school located on an African island in the Atlantic. It was created as a form of reparations by the Joint Atlantic Council in the 20s. Every country who participated in the slave trade donates a percentage of their GDP to this small island campus. The hope was that the investment would return dividends as the students would go on to repair the harms of the West legacy of slavery, apartheid, and colonization. It is an education “in it but not of it” as the university is free to decide “who teaches, what they teach, how they teach, and the makeup of the student body”. Despite this, the school's interests often converge with those of its biggest funder, America. Today, The Fort is a global ivy mentioned in the same vein as Oxford while graduating students who go on to be presidents, CEOs, and diplomats diversifying even the highest caste of the increasingly globalized world. It is a campus of immigrants concentrated on a Westernized education hoping to make a change for their people but curiously always coming up short despite their individual accomplishments. The story begins to pick up as students begin to examine the university in which they are being educated and furthermore, examine the world that the school is preparing them for. These students stand to inherit the keys to the ruling class just by simply being at the school. Their ideas of progress and liberation are fundamentally at odds with the university and the western nations that fund it. But would these children give up a guaranteed comfortable life, attending the most prestigious school in the world, to fight for an idea?


Put simply, this is not a compelling story. It fully encapsulates everything that is wrong with young people today. First, It imagines progress as something that can be done overnight, that change could be made quickly or within our lifetimes. Such an event has never happened over the course of the history of the diaspora. There have been great reforms followed by great retrenchment but never an unambiguous win. Popularizing such rhetoric would only further the burnout of activists who don’t receive immediate gratification. The author doesn’t even know his own history. It's almost as if he doesn’t believe what he was taught in American public schools. Young people engage in this practice of praising their ancestors, then saying that we have not come far, and refusing to reconcile the two. This book is riddled with this inconsistency as the stories of reincarnates are brought to the forefront. Second, it is highly elitist and wreaks of academia. The critical race theory, Derrick Bell, and legal concepts that he tries to weave into everyday stories does not make him sound profound but so deeply out of touch with the common man that he could not make a story that is relatable in the most basic sense. Finally, it is poorly written. This is not someone trained in the art of storytelling but a political scientist/lawyer trying to jump ship using whatever shred of talent he could muster as a flotation device. It is clear that the author who is educated by American higher education is only attempting to critique it because of a self-righteous desire to do public interest when loans put him in big law. Because I know the author personally I would emphasize that your life does not have any profound meaning or guidance for the entire diaspora. You went to an HBCU, and Ivy league, and lived in Puerto Rico, it is not hard to tell where you draw your inspiration. Nonetheless imagining the end goal of abolition as a fantasy does a supreme disservice to people actually doing the work. You’re just an academic. But for what it’s worth. I have never in my 23 years ever even imagined what the day would look like where Black people win. The final scene where they party across continents for three months was a nice thought. The dancing, the food, the tears of joy. For a story with a lackluster plot and an amateur critique of American higher ed, the ending did strike a nerve. But even fiction has some reality to it and there's nothing real about us ever making it to that day. Books like this, our history, are supposed to paint a bleak outlook for our lives. This is just disappointing.


Webs Webs

r3 - 31 May 2023 - 05:27:34 - ColeRiley
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform.
All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
Syndicate this site RSSATOM