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Illuminating The Stories Of “Invisible Men”

Flores Forbes joined the Black Panther Party when he was just 16 years old. He became the youngest member of the Central Committee and eventually got involved in the party’s military arm. 

In the late ‘70s, he was involved in an attempted murder plot and served five years in prison. While he was incarcerated, Forbes encountered Ralph Ellison’s novel “Invisible Man.” The concept of invisibility struck a chord with Forbes, and years later, it became the central premise for his new book: “Invisible Men: A Contemporary Slave Narrative in the Era of Mass Incarceration” (Skyhorse Publishing/2017).

In it, Forbes discusses his experience of reentry, and illuminates the struggles he, and other so-called “invisible men,” face as they try to rebuild their lives. Host Frank Stasio talks with Flores Forbes about his story and writing.

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Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.