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The purpose of the Common Read Program at Colorado College is to create a common intellectual experience for incoming undergraduate students, to introduce them to our core values as an academic community, and to teach them how to engage as members of our community of scholars.

2021-2022 Common Read

No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America by Darnell L. Moore.


The text chronicles his difficult experiences growing up as a queer, black boy in Camden, New Jersey, reflecting on how the most formative moments contributed to his identity. Moore describes his bold and candid memoir as “snapshots of my life,” molded by forces of “brutality, poverty, and self-hatred.” No Ashes in the Fire takes its name from a traumatizing experience in Moore’s childhood. When Moore was fourteen, three boys from his neighborhood tried to set him on fire. They cornered him while he was walking home from school, harassed him because they thought he was gay, and poured a jug of gasoline on him. He escaped, but just barely.

In No Ashes in the Fire, Moore shares his journey from that scared, bullied teenager to an award-winning writer, a leading Black Lives Matter activist, and an advocate for justice and liberation. Throughout the text, Moore offers an insightful commentary on racism and sexual identity (“The consequences of black queer desire seemed more lethal than poetic. And I did everything in my power to resist becoming what I sensed society hated”). Moore’s well-crafted book is a stunning tribute to affirmation, forgiveness, and healing. No Ashes in the Fire is a story of beauty and hope - and an honest reckoning with family, with place, and with what it means to be free.


Report an issue - Last updated: 10/08/2021