From the Publisher
“[The Speech] offers answers that are a lot more complex than the unvarnished praise Obama's oration has gotten so far…A rich landscape of opinion on the state of race and Obama's singular relationship to it. Last year, we simply couldn't see these arguments in the heat of the campaign; now they're coming into focus.” Los Angeles Times
“The time is right for [this] reconsideration... If we are to take the idea of a national racial discussion seriously, then it's especially urgent for a general readership to encounter eye-opening arguments like theologian Obery M. Hendricks Jr.'s articulate defense of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright... The book's tour de force is language scholar Geneva Smitherman's brilliant close reading of Obama's rhetoric, cadence and tone with reference to the "Black jeremiad tradition." She establishes the speech as a unique expression of Obama's biracial, bicultural identity, grounded in Aristotelian rhetoric and touching deep cultural nerves with both white and black audiences.” Salon, Critic's Pick
A team of scholars and journalists explore the implications of Barack Obama's speech "A More Perfect Union," given in the heat of the 2008 primary campaign, in this volume edited by Sharpley-Whiting (Pimps Up, Hos Down). Written by Obama in response to the media frenzy over statements by his pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, "A More Perfect Union" addressed the enduring legacy of slavery and racism and instantly entered the canon of great American oratory. The contributors use the speech as a starting point to examine the divide between civil rights-era activism (and activists) and the politics of a younger generation that has grown up in its shadow, as well as the development of black oratory, the meaning of a "postracial" society, the immigrant experience and divisions between the descendants of American slaves and postcolonial immigrants from the Caribbean, Africa and Latin America. Scholarly without being dry, the book offers a way forward from what has become a stalemate between a "color-blind" white America that sees racism as a problem solved in the 1960s and a nation of ethnic minorities that experiences daily its structural inequities. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.