Speech: Race and Barack Obama's A More Perfect Union

( 2 )


After Senator Barack Obama delivered his celebrated speech, ?A More Perfect Union,? on March 18, 2008, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd noted that only Barack Obama ?could alchemize a nuanced 40-minute speech on race into must-see YouTube viewing for 20-year-olds.? Pundits established the speech?s historical eminence with comparisons to Abraham Lincoln?s ?A House Divided? and Martin Luther King Jr?s ?I Have a Dream.? The future president had addressed one of the biggest issues facing his campaign?and our ...

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The Speech: Race and Barack Obama's 'A More Perfect Union'

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After Senator Barack Obama delivered his celebrated speech, “A More Perfect Union,” on March 18, 2008, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd noted that only Barack Obama “could alchemize a nuanced 40-minute speech on race into must-see YouTube viewing for 20-year-olds.” Pundits established the speech’s historical eminence with comparisons to Abraham Lincoln’s “A House Divided” and Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream.” The future president had addressed one of the biggest issues facing his campaign—and our country—with an eloquence and honesty rarely before heard on a national stage.

The Speech brings together a distinguished lineup of writers and thinkers—among them Adam Mansbach, Alice Randall, Connie Schultz, and William Julius Wilson —in a multifaceted exploration of Obama’s address. Their original essays examine every aspect of the speech—literary, political, social, and culturaland are punctuated by Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson’s reportage on the issue of race in the now historic 2008 campaign. The Speech memorializes and gives full due to a speech that propelled Obama toward the White House, and prompted a nation to evaluate our imperfect but hopeful union.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596916678
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 8/18/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,198,437
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting is the director of Vanderbilt University's Program in African American and Diaspora Studies and the W. T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies. She is the author of four books, including the award-winning Pimps Up, Ho's Down, and the editor or coeditor of five others, most recently The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.

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Table of Contents

Chloroform Morning Joe! 1

Introduction T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting

Race and Barack Obama's "A More Perfect Union"

Wright Stuff, Wrong Time, Part I Derrick Z. Jackson 19

Obama and the Generational Challenge Omar H. Ali 25

Living the Dream Keli Goff 40

Black Like Barack Joan Morgan 55

The Audacity of Post-Racism Adam Mansbach 69

Between Expediency and Conviction: What We Mean When We Say "Post-Racial" Bakari Kitwana 85

His Grandmother, My Father, Your Uncle Connie Schultz 102

Nuanced Genius, Part II Derrick Z. Jackson 113

L'Effet Obama: Diversity and "A More Perfect Republic" Dominic Thomas 119

Why Obama's Race Speech Is a Model for the Political Framing of Race and Poverty William Julius Wilson 132

A Belief in the Unseen: A Nation Still at Risk Gilman W. Whiting 142

A More Perfect (High-Tech) Lynching: Obama, the Press, and Jeremiah Wright Obery M. Hendricks Jr. 155

"It's Been a Long Time Comin, but Our Change Done Come" Geneva Smitherman 184

Barack in the Dirty, Dirty South Alice Randall 205

Mutt on CP Time, Discipline of Malcolm, Part III Derrick Z. Jackson 224

The Speech

A More Perfect Union Senator Barack Obama 237

About the Contributors 253

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Very Good

    This book contains a collection of essays from various people concerning the speech given by (then)Senator Barack Obama on March 18th, 2008. The speech was very powerful and I enjoyed reading the essays. I think Obama has a talent for speaking publicly and it was interesting to see other views. The book is short and well worth the time it takes to read. I would recommend this book to everyone who cares about this country, whether an Obama supporter or not.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2012

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