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Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Homeby Anita Hill
Synopses & Reviews
From the heroic lawyer who spoke out against Clarence Thomas in the historic confirmation hearings twenty years ago, Anita Hill's first book since the best-selling Speaking Truth to Power.
In 1991, Anita Hill’s courageous testimony during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings sparked a national conversation on sexual harassment and women’s equality in politics and the workplace. Today, she turns her attention to another potent and enduring symbol of economic success and equality—the home. Hill details how the current housing crisis, resulting in the devastation of so many families, so many communities, and even whole cities, imperils every American’s ability to achieve the American Dream.
Hill takes us on a journey that begins with her own family story and ends with the subprime mortgage meltdown. Along the way, she invites us into homes across America, rural and urban, and introduces us to some extraordinary African American women. As slavery ended, Mollie Elliott, Hill’s ancestor, found herself with an infant son and no husband. Yet, she bravely set course to define for generations to come what it meant to be a free person of color. On the eve of the civil rights and women’s rights movements, Lorraine Hansberry’s childhood experience of her family’s fight against racial restrictions in a Chicago neighborhood ended tragically for the Hansberry family. Yet, that episode shaped Lorraine’s hopeful account of early suburban integration in her iconic American drama A Raisin in the Sun. Two decades later, Marla, a divorced mother, endeavors to keep her children safe from a growing gang presence in 1980s Los Angeles. Her story sheds light on the fears and anxiety countless parents faced during an era of growing neighborhood isolation, and that continue today. In the midst of the 2008 recession, hairdresser Anjanette Booker’s dogged determination to keep her Baltimore home and her salon reflects a commitment to her own independence and to her community’s economic and social viability. Finally, Hill shares her own journey to a place and a state of being at home that brought her from her roots in rural Oklahoma to suburban Boston, Massachusetts, and connects her own search for home with that of women and men set adrift during the foreclosure crisis.
The ability to secure a place that provides access to every opportunity our country has to offer is central to the American Dream. To achieve that ideal, Hill argues, we and our leaders must engage in a new conversation about what it takes to be at home in America. Pointing out that the inclusive democracy our Constitution promises is bigger than the current debate about legal rights, she presents concrete proposals that encourage us to reimagine equality. Hill offers a twenty-first-century vision of America—not a vision of migration, but one of roots; not one simply of tolerance, but one of belonging; not just of rights, but also of community—a community of equals.
From the Hardcover edition.
Through the stories of remarkable African American women, including her own great-great-grandmother, playwright Lorraine Hansberry, and Baltimore beauty-shop owner and housing-crisis survivor Anjanette Booker, Anita Hill demonstrates that the inclusive democracy our Constitution promises must be conceived with home in mind. From slavery to the Great Migration to the subprime mortgage meltdown, Reimagining Equality takes us on a journey that sparks a new conversation about what it means to be at home in America and presents concrete proposals that encourage us to reimagine equality.
From the heroic lawyer who spoke out against Clarence Thomas in the historic confirmation hearings twenty years ago
At the historic Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, Anita Hill spoke out courageously about workplace sexual harassment. Now she turns to the topic of home. As our country reels from the subprime mortgage meltdown and the resulting devastation of so many families and communities, Hill takes us inside this “crisis of home” and exposes its deep roots in race and gender inequities, which continue to imperil every American’s ability to achieve the American Dream. In this period of recovery and its aftermath, what is at stake is the inclusive democracy the Constitution promises. The achievement of that ideal, Hill argues, depends on each American’s ability to secure a place that provides access to every opportunity our country offers. Building on the great strides of the women’s and civil rights movements, Hill presents concrete proposals that encourage us to broaden our thinking about home and to reimagine equality for America’s future.
About the Author
Anita Hill is a professor of social policy, law, and women’s studies at Brandeis University. The youngest of thirteen children, she grew up on a farm in rural Oklahoma. In 1980, Hill received her JD from Yale Law School. After working in private practice and for the federal government in Washington, D.C., she joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Hill is the author of Speaking Truth to Power, in which she detailed her experience as a witness in Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. She writes and lectures widely on issues of race and gender equality.
From the Hardcover edition.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Home: Survival and the Land
Chapter Two: Belonging to the New Land
Chapter Three: Gender and Race at Home in America
Chapter Four: Lorraine’s Vision: A Better Place to Live
Chapter Five: Blame It on the Sun
Chapter Six: Lessons from a Survivor: Anjanette’s Story
Chapter Seven: Home in Crisis: Americans on the Outside of the Dream
Chapter Eight: Home at Last: Toward an Inclusive Democracy
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