A provocative case for integration as the single most radical, discomfiting idea in America, yet the only enduring solution to the racism that threatens our democracy.
Americans have prided ourselves on how far we've come from slavery, lynching, and legal segregation-measuring ourselves by incremental progress instead of by how far we have to go. But fifty years after the last meaningful effort toward civil rights, the US remains overwhelmingly segregated and unjust. Our current solutions -- diversity, representation, and desegregation -- are not enough.
As acclaimed writer Calvin Baker argues in this bracing, necessary book, we first need to envision a society no longer defined by the structures of race in order to create one. The only meaningful remedy is integration: the full self-determination and participation of all African-Americans, and all other oppressed groups, in every facet of national life. This is the deepest threat to the racial order and the real goal of civil rights.
At once a profound, masterful reading of US history from the colonial era forward and a trenchant critique of the obstacles in our current political and cultural moment, A More Perfect Reunion is also a call to action. As Baker reminds us, we live in a revolutionary democracy. We are one of the best-positioned generations in history to finish that revolution.
About the Author
Calvin Baker is the author of four novels, including Grace and Dominion, which was a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Award. He teaches in Columbia University's Graduate School of the Arts, and has also taught in the English Department at Yale University, the University of Leipzig, where he held the Picador Chair in American Studies, Long Island University, Graduate Department of English where he was a Distinguished Visiting Professor, Bard College, and Middlebury College. His nonfiction work has appeared in Harper's and the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn.
"A rich, meditative account... Baker offers a wide-ranging and erudite analysis of U.S. history, politics, and culture.... This powerful call to action resonates."—Publishers Weekly
"Scholarly yet accessible, this book is a wake-up call for a country that would rather celebrate how far we've come than focus on how far we still have to go to eradicate racism. Required reading for any American serious about dismantling systemic racism."
—Kirkus (starred review)
"Contemplating social problems related to race, identity, civil rights and more, a novelist proposes that the simplest, most radical solution is the complete social integration of all minorities."—The New York Times Book Review