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The history of blacks at Harvard mirrors, for better or for worse, the history of blacks in the United States. Harvard, too, has been indelibly scarred by slavery, exclusion, segregation, and other forms of racist oppression. At the same time, the nation's oldest university has also, at various times, stimulated, supported, or allowed itself to be influenced by the various reform movements that have dramatically changed the nature of race relations across the nation. The story of blacks at Harvard is thus inspiring but painful, instructive but ambiguous-a paradoxical episode in the most vexing controversy of American life: the "race question." The first and only book on its subject, Blacks at Harvard is distinguished by the rich variety of its sources. Included in this documentary history are scholarly overviews, poems, short stories, speeches, well-known memoirs by the famous, previously unpublished memoirs by the lesser known, newspaper accounts, letters, official papers of the university, and transcripts of debates. Among Harvard's black alumni and alumnae are such illustrious figures as W.E.B. Du Bois, Monroe Trotter, and Alain Locke; Countee Cullen and Sterling Brown both received graduate degrees. The editors have collected here writings as diverse as those of Booker T. Washington, William Hastie, Malcolm X, and Muriel Snowden to convey the complex ways in which Harvard has affected the thinking of African Americans and the ways, in turn, in which African Americans have influenced the traditions of Harvard and Radcliffe. Notable among the contributors are significant figures in African American letters: Phyllis Wheatley, William Melvin Kelley, Marita Bonner, James Alan McPherson and Andrea Lee. Equally prominent in the book are some of the nation's leading historians: Carter Woodson, Rayford Logan, John Hope Franklin, and Nathan I. Huggins. A vital sourcebook, Blacks at Harvard is certain to nourish scholarly inquiry into the social and intellectual history of African Americans at elite national institutions and serves as a telling metaphor of this nation's past.
In the wake of the Supreme Court's recent decision regarding Fisher v. University of Texas, For Discrimination is at once the definitive reckoning with one of America's most explosively contentious and divisive issues and a principled work of advocacy for clearly defined justice. What precisely is affirmative action, and why is it fiercely championed by some and just as fiercely denounced by others? Does it signify a boon or a stigma? Or is it simply reverse discrimination? What are its benefits and costs to American society? What are the exact indicia determining who should or should not be accorded affirmative action? When should affirmative action end, if it must? Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School professor and author of such critically acclaimed and provocative books as Race, Crime, and the Law and the national best-seller Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, gives us a concise, gimlet-eyed, and deeply personal conspectus of the policy, refusing to shy away from the myriad complexities of an issue that continues to bedevil American race relations. With pellucid reasoning, Kennedy accounts for the slipperiness of the term "affirmative action" as it has been appropriated by ideologues of every stripe; delves into the complex and surprising legal history of the policy; coolly analyzes key arguments pro and con advanced by the left and right, including the so-called color-blind, race-neutral challenge; critiques the impact of Supreme Court decisions on higher education; and ponders the future of affirmative action.
In Interracial Intimacies, Randall Kennedy hits a nerve at the center of American society: race relations and our most intimate ties to each other. Writing with the same piercing intelligence he brought to his national bestseller Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, Kennedy here challenges us to examine how prejudices and biases still fuel fears and inform our sexual, marital, and family choices.Analyzing the tremendous changes in the history of America's racial dynamics, Kennedy takes us from the injustices of the slave era up to present-day battles over race matching adoption policies, which seek to pair children with adults of the same race. He tackles such subjects as the presence of sex in racial politics, the historic role of legal institutions in policing racial boundaries, and the real and imagined pleasures that have attended interracial intimacy. A bracing, much-needed look at the way we have lived in the past, Interracial Intimacies is also a hopeful book, offering a potent vision of our future as a multiracial democracy.
Analyzing the tremendous changes in the history of America's racial dynamics, Kennedy takes us from the injustices of the slave era up to present-day battles over race matching adoption policies, which seek to pair children with adults of the same race. He tackles such subjects as the presence of sex in racial politics, the historic role of legal institutions in policing racial boundaries, and the real and imagined pleasures that have attended interracial intimacy. A bracing, much-needed look at the way we have lived in the past, Interracial Intimacies is also a hopeful book, offering a potent vision of our future as a multiracial democracy.
Nigger: it is arguably the most consequential social insult in American history, though, at the same time, a word that reminds us of "the ironies and dilemmas, tragedies and glories of the American experience. " In this tour de force, distinguished Harvard Law School professor Randall Kennedy--author of the highly acclaimedRace, Crime, and the Law-- "put[s] a tracer onnigger," to identify how it has been used and by whom, while analyzing the controversies to which it has given rise. With unprecedented candor and insight Kennedy explores such questions as: How shouldniggerbe defined? Is it, as some have declared, necessarily more hurtful than other racial epithets? Do blacks have a right to useniggereven as others do not? Should the law viewniggerbaiting as a provocation strong enough to reduce the culpability of a person who responds violently to it? Should a person be fired from his or her job for sayingnigger? How might the destructiveness ofniggerbe assuaged? To be ignorant of the meanings and effects ofnigger, says Kennedy, is to render oneself vulnerable to all manner of peril. This book brilliantly and sensitively addresses that concern.
Timely--as the 2012 presidential election nears--and controversial, here is the first book by a major African-American public intellectual on racial politics and the Obama presidency. Renowned for his cool reason vis-à-vis the pitfalls and clichés of racial discourse, Randall Kennedy--Harvard professor of law and author of the New York Times best seller Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word--gives us a keen and shrewd analysis of the complex relationship between the first black president and his African-American constituency. Kennedy tackles such hot-button issues as the nature of racial opposition to Obama, whether Obama has a singular responsibility to African Americans, electoral politics and cultural chauvinism, black patriotism, the differences in Obama's presentation of himself to blacks and to whites, the challenges posed by the dream of a postracial society, and the far-from-simple symbolism of Obama as a leader of the Joshua generation in a country that has elected only three black senators and two black governors in its entire history. Eschewing the critical excesses of both the left and the right, Kennedy offers a gimlet-eyed view of Obama's triumphs and travails, his strengths and weaknesses, as they pertain to the troubled history of race in America.From the Hardcover edition.
In this powerfully reasoned, lucidly written work, Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy takes on the highly complex issues of race, crime, and the legal system, uncovering the long-standing failure of the justice system to protect blacks from criminals and revealing difficult truths about these factors in the United States.From the Hardcover edition.
In the wake of his controversial national bestseller, "Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word," Kennedy grapples brilliantly and judiciously with another stigma of racial discourse: "selling out," or racial betrayal, which is a subject of much anxiety and acrimony in Black America.
Much has been written about Thurgood Marshall, but this is the first book to collect his own words. Here are briefs he filed as a lawyer, oral arguments for the landmark school desegregation cases, investigative reports on race riots and racism in the Army, speeches and articles outlining the history of civil rights and criticizing the actions of more conservative jurists, Supreme Court opinions now widely cited in Constitutional law, a long and complete oral autobiography, and much more. Marshall's impact on American race relations was greater than that of anyone else this century, for it was he who ended legal segregation in the United States. His victories as a lawyer for the NAACP broke the color line in housing, transportation, voting, and schools by overturning the long-established "separate-but-equal" doctrine. But Marshall was attentive to all social inequalities: no Supreme Court justice has ever been more consistent in support of freedom of expression, affirmative action, women's rights, abortion rights, and the right to consensual sex among adults; no justice has ever fought so hard against economic inequality, police brutality, and capital punishment.
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