Living in those exact woods
By far the most impactful portion from Coates' book for me was the quote from Richard Wright that was used as the epigraph, and from which Coates draws the title of the book: Between the World and Me. The epigraph so aptly and perfectly describes the book (as epigraphs are meant to do), but it goes beyond the primary theme of a caring father describing his racial experience within the US to his son. Every reader should be able to identify with the epigraph, even those who have not personally experienced anything Coates writes about - especially those who haven't experienced those things - because through those six lines of poetry, the reader realizes they may have been living in those exact woods. That's certainly what happened with me; I lived a rather sheltered life until I came to KU, where I was constantly being exposed to these new stories and narratives - I had stumbled into that "grassy clearing" - and as soon as I looked closer, I too saw the "sooty details of the scene" rise in front of me. I finally noticed the strife people of color live through every day; I finally recognized just how different their lives were from mine. So, even though the epigraph doesn't provide the details that I'd find in Coates book, it was incredibly influential simply because it stated beautifully how I came to see these differences that are present in our country, and I think it will do the same for many others.