My Country, 'Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Futureby Keith Ellison
As a Black, Latino, and former Catholic who converted to Islam, Keith Ellison, is the first Muslim elected to Congress—from a district with fewer than 1 percent Muslims and 11 percent Blacks. With his unique perspective on uniting a disparate community and speaking to a common goal, Ellison takes a provocative look at America and what needs to change to accommodate different races and beliefs.
Filled with anecdotes, statistics, and social commentary, Ellison touches on everything from the Tea Party to Obama, from race to the immigration debate and more. He also draws some very clear distinctions between parties and shows why the deep polarization is unhealthy for America. Deeply patriotic, with My Country ’Tis of Thee, Ellison strives to help define what it means to be an American today.
In January 2007, Ellison stood with his right hand over his heart and his left hand on Thomas Jefferson’s Quran as he was sworn in as the first Muslim elected to Congress. Part memoir and part political reflection, Ellison’s lackluster and meandering recollections about his childhood and youth in Detroit, his college days and law school days, his eventual move to Minnesota, and his election to Congress reveal very little about the man or the ways that his faith informs his public service. Ellison admits that after 9/11, his candidacy went from being about inclusion and peace to being a defense of the freedom of religion. In a refrain he hammers throughout the book, he reminds us that “we are in a battle for our national soul,” yet he offers only the vague advice that “… to meet your goals and justify your existence—you must have a purpose. Purpose organizes your life.” Uninspiring, Ellison’s anodyne memoir will have little appeal to anyone outside his circle of influence. (Jan. 14)
An engaging memoir on what it means to be a black Muslim in American government. Raised in the 1970s in Detroit and Minneapolis in a household where hard work and discipline were the rules, not the exception, Ellison's childhood was saturated with tales of the struggles his extended family had endured to achieve racial equality under the Jim Crow laws. He juggled being an upper-middle-class black Catholic youth on track to succeed despite the street gangs, unemployment and drug deals commonplace in Detroit. From these beginnings, Ellison created his own vision of a post–civil rights society, "a new inclusive perspective" of society for which he was willing to stand up and fight. His desire for a more balanced, kind and fair world corresponded with the views he found in the Quran, and Ellison quickly converted to Islam. As an activist, he recognized that the best way to create the changes he envisioned was to become an active member of government. "I understood that we could make a difference in our homes, and in our communities--but we also could make a difference in our country by participating in government instead of just criticizing it," he writes. This led to his ongoing career in national politics, eventually giving rise to his election to Congress, the first black Muslim to hold such an office. With insights into the famous leaders who have influenced him, Ellison passionately details the concepts that still divide America and offers suggestions on how the country can move beyond the color of a person's skin or religious belief to create a nation of the people, for the people. The empowering words of an insightful American who has risen to a place in government where his actions can really make a difference.
- Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing
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- SIMON & SCHUSTER
- NOOK Book
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- 4 MB
Meet the Author
Keith Ellison is a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. He is the first Black Muslim elected to the US Congress and the first African-American elected to the House from Minnesota. He is also the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and one of the organizers behind the 1995 Million Man March.
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Shameful!!!! "Knowledge and wisdom without character, integrity, and honor is such a waste!" Shame on you Keith Ellison! To the trash it goes!