- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
More copies of this ISBN
Freedom Is Not Enough: The Moynihan Report and America's Struggle Over Black Family Life--From LBJ to Obamaby James T Patterson
Synopses & Reviews
On June 4, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson delivered what he and many others considered the greatest civil rights speech of his career. Proudly, Johnson hailed the new freedoms granted to African Americans due to the newly passed Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, but noted that freedom is not enough.” The next stage of the movement would be to secure racial equality as a fact and a result.”
The speech was drafted by an assistant secretary of labor by the name of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who had just a few months earlier drafted a scorching report on the deterioration of the urban black family in America. When that report was leaked to the press a month after Johnsons speech, it created a whirlwind of controversy from which Johnsons civil rights initiatives would never recover. But Moynihans arguments proved startlingly prescient, and established the terms of a debate about welfare policy that have endured for forty-five years.
The history of one of the great missed opportunities in American history, Freedom Is Not Enough will be essential reading for anyone seeking to understand our nations ongoing failure to address the tragedy of the black underclass.
"Despite the author's caveat, 'this is not a biography,' it is the life story (and afterlife story) of a document commonly named 'The Moynihan Report' — its conception as a memo, its delivery in 1965 as a report entitled 'The Negro Family: The Case for National Action' by Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Moynihan, and its independent, later development. Bancroft Prize-winning historian Patterson (Grand Expectations) reviews the report's perspectives on 'the woes of lower-class, inner-city black families' — at the center of which are nonmarital births — rooted variously in the historic past (slavery, migration to urban centers), contemporaneous economic forces (joblessness), or 'black culture.' Patterson's wide scouring through the scholarly literature and the popular media, from the mid-1960s to the Obama era, results in a generous survey of the sociological and historical treatment of 'lower-class black family life' and a reappraisal of whether the report scuttled LBJ's civil rights agenda. Alas, Patterson's thorough account is dulled by a plethora of repetitive statistics concerning out-of-wedlock births and a surfeit of reports concerning media handling; while it remains useful documentation, it is a tiresome read." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
In 1965, Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan delivered a report on the inner-city black family to President Lyndon Johnson. Instead of helping move Johnson's War on Poverty to the next level--that of guaranteeing true economic and social equality to the nation's black citizens--the "Moynihan Report" produced a firestorm of controversy, both from conservatives who maintained that it proved the inherent inequality of blacks to African Americans who argued that the report's conclusions were culturally biased, if not actually racist. In this book, Patterson (History [emeritus], Brown University) outlines how the Moynihan Report came to be, how the controversy over the report's conclusions undercut LBJ's ability to pursue his civil rights objective, and how that controversy set the terms for the arguments over welfare policy to the present day. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A Bancroft Prizewinning historian narrates the birth, life, and afterlife of the explosive report that permanently altered the way we talk about race in America
A concise and judicious account of Mr. Moynihans political career, the report he made famous and the policy debates that the report inspired Freedom Is Not Enough is written in an engaging style that makes these debates come alive again and that reminds us of their continuing importance.”—Wall Street Journal
In Freedom is Not Enough, award-winning historian James Patterson narrates the birth, life, and afterlife of the explosive Moynihan report, which altered the way we view race in America. In 1965, President Johnson was leading an optimistic nation toward progress, especially in regard to the civil rights movement, which had just achieved the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. But this momentum was quickly lost, in part due to the negative reception of Daniel Patrick Moynihans Report on Black Family Life. Moynihan marshaled a formidable array of alarming statistics to paint a grim portrait of inner-city black family life, and argued that immediate national action was imperative if America hoped to prevent lower-class black families from crumbling. So pivotal was the Moynihan report that the past half-century of race relations cannot be fully comprehended without considering its role in predicting—yet falling short of averting—decades of failure. Freedom Is Not Enough provides invaluable new insight into this crucial moment in American history, showing how the Moynihan report represents one of the great missed opportunities in 20th century American history.
About the Author
James T. Patterson is Ford Foundation Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University. He is the author of Restless Giant, Brown V. Board of Education, and the Bancroft prize-winning Grand Expectations: The United States 1945-1974. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General