On the Other Side of Freedom
"On the Other Side of Freedom reveals the mind and motivations of a young man who has risen to the fore of millennial activism through study, discipline, and conviction. His belief in a world that can be made better, one act at a time, powers his narratives and opens up a view on the costs, consequences, and rewards of leading a movement."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr.From the internationally recognized civil rights activist/organizer and host of the podcast Pod Save the People, a meditation on resistance, justice, and freedom, and an intimate portrait of a movement from the front lines.In August of 2014, twenty-nine-year-old activist DeRay Mckesson stood with hundreds of others on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to push a message of justice and accountability. These protests, and others like them in cities across the country, resulted in the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, in his first book, Mckesson lays out the intellectual, pragmatic political framework for a new liberation movement. Continuing a conversation about activism, resistance, and justice that embraces our nation's complex history, he dissects how deliberate oppression persists, how racial injustice strips our lives of promise, and how technology has added a new dimension to mass action and social change. He argues that our best efforts to combat injustice have been stunted by the belief that racism's wounds are history, and suggests that intellectual purity has curtailed optimistic realism. The book offers a new framework and language for understanding the nature of oppression. With it, we can begin charting a course to dismantle the obvious and subtle structures that limit freedom.Honest, courageous, and imaginative, On the Other Side of Freedom is a work brimming with hope. Drawing from his own experiences as an activist, organizer, educator, and public official, Mckesson exhorts all Americans to work to dismantle the legacy of racism and to imagine the best of what is possible. Honoring the voices of a new generation of activists, On the Other Side of Freedom is a visionary's call to take responsibility for imagining, and then building, the world we want to live in.

On the Other Side of Freedom Details

TitleOn the Other Side of Freedom
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 4th, 2018
PublisherViking
ISBN-139780525560326
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Social Movements, Social Justice, Race, Politics, Autobiography, Memoir

On the Other Side of Freedom Review

  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This book is part memoir and part discussion of racial issues that affect the US. DeRay McKesson relates life experiences while also making you think how society is set up. This book is a must read.I was provided a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • chantel nouseforaname
    January 1, 1970
    You have to appreciate what DeRay has contributed to the culture. An idea that he discusses is that sometimes, a lot of the time, people just need someone to point their "founder" label at to make sense of shit that happens in the world. They need to label someone "founder of a movement" to either point their hate at or point their love at and he's been, a lot of the time, the focal point of that sort of attention; whether or not he wanted it. Then there's this kind of underlying conversation or You have to appreciate what DeRay has contributed to the culture. An idea that he discusses is that sometimes, a lot of the time, people just need someone to point their "founder" label at to make sense of shit that happens in the world. They need to label someone "founder of a movement" to either point their hate at or point their love at and he's been, a lot of the time, the focal point of that sort of attention; whether or not he wanted it. Then there's this kind of underlying conversation or inner-battle that comes through the text here where it seems like he's not intentionally trying to battle with if he deserves that label although he rejects it.. you get a sense sort of that he's vying for it, but not really. I don't know. It's an underlying tone that I as the reader felt when he described his involvement in the movement. He states that he didn't aim for the "founder of a movement" tag, nor did he want or accept it, that it just sort of manifested the way that it did. I thought that it was honest to see him draw attention to that point because it further highlights that realistically; community ownership and representation matters, even in a crisis, as it should. For people who live in Ferguson and have been organizing against the injustice from time, representation is important. It's important for DeRay to acknowledge that many people directly from that community that he leant his face to have been fighting for justice for ages. I don't want to say that he admits he's a vulture; but I do want to say that he admits it's important to be there for others and create family and build community when you see something happening that's unjust. It's important to Colin Kapernick and stand for something.WHICH IS WHY I ALSO only gave this book three stars. I'm tired of seeing faces telling their stories even though it's their book. I know that's a wild concept; but hear me out. I think it's important to continue with the legacy of what you're doing and what you've started to do in the public sphere. I want to see people with platforms amplify the voices that they are trying to amplify by busting open space. Critique and dissect the injustices yes! catalogue them and make them open for public view! You've done a lot for justice (for example he talks about working with academics to index police killings based on already-published news stories to get a clearer picture of the numbers of civilians killed by police), you're doing all this important work so why not fight forward still, sharing educational pieces that incorporate your story instead of your story that incorporates educational pieces deep-rooted in a "look what i did" sort of mentality. It's important to tell your story and yes, the book is good; but it brings about the taste of why people have issues in the first place with DeRay's approach to things. I think if you're really going to tell your story you have to deep dive into your story, that's what people really want to know. Like I feel like the chapter about his mom could have been a whole book. I feel like the chapter about black men, love and homosexuality from the lens of someone in the public eye in a freedom-fighter position is a HUGE story. Maybe he didn't want to jump all the way in, but doing a little touch of it just felt like you don't really want to tell your story, but you have to - for a purpose of.. what exactly? Creating some sort of narrative about your ... Exactly. I completely understand what he's saying as well when he talks about the need to think of change and reform in multi-leveled ways. It's important to connect with people who don't share the same viewpoints as you (his attempt at connecting We the Protesters w/ Bernie Sanders and backing Hilary Clinton). It's important to trying to push the envelope by a method of engagement rather than separatism. I completely agree. I just wish that he'd have put diverse perspectives at the forefront. BUT I GET IT, this is his story. It could just be the first of many and he decided to start his authorial output with himself; which is a good place to start but, a man's story is never not heard; so, I mean. *shrug**One of the crucial takeaways that I derived from this book is that it's important to tell the truth. I'm repeating myself a little but I think it's his strongest message. It's important to stand for something. More important than all of it - sometimes it's just important to put your money where your mouth is to sort of just be there. Just be present to document and transmit. We need everyone to see us, the US pushing forward for change. We need them to see that we ain't going anywhere. That we are here. Not a faceless mass, actual people in a fucking huge mass that grows exponentially by the day.DeRay takes a lot of flack. ANYONE on twitter knows this. This book is really great in the sense that it shines a light into the man and his background that not a lot of people get to hear about. I would love to read a book by Johnetta Elzie and her thoughts and viewpoints on any variety of topics. I look forward to that.
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  • Joshunda Sanders
    January 1, 1970
    How can you not know about Deray and his everpresent blue vest? This beautiful memoir has some lovely additional details about it, of course, but what is most resonant is additional information about his connection to his family, how he came to be engaged in Ferguson and the larger Movement for Black Lives and his uniquely graceful, eloquent description of moving from being quiet about his sexuality to speaking up, along with the heart-tugging beauty of his relationship with his birth mother and How can you not know about Deray and his everpresent blue vest? This beautiful memoir has some lovely additional details about it, of course, but what is most resonant is additional information about his connection to his family, how he came to be engaged in Ferguson and the larger Movement for Black Lives and his uniquely graceful, eloquent description of moving from being quiet about his sexuality to speaking up, along with the heart-tugging beauty of his relationship with his birth mother and the others who have mothered him. Deray is a masterful storyteller, with a keen grasp of history. There is a curious gap in the timeline he gives for Black Lives Matter and obvious names missing (as though knowledgeable readers will be able to fill them in) even as he makes meaningful points about who gets to claim the founding or origins of a movement and who gets erased and who tells those stories (or who doesn’t). In this lovely and significant book this moment is not a reason to throw Deray away or disregard any of his truths. It’s merely notable and a moment that is in stark contrast to the transcendent beauty and clarity and call of specific moments and people by name that are so moving throughout most of its pages.
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  • Susie Dumond
    January 1, 1970
    DeRay Mckesson is a powerful advocate who has become one of the most visible leaders of the #blacklivesmatter movement. This book is part essay collection and part memoir, and delves into his beginnings as a protester, experiences in activism, and advice for fighting against white supremacy and police violence. Mckesson does a great job of making the personal political and using his own memories as a mirror for society. I feel like it took a while for his unique voice and perspective to emerge f DeRay Mckesson is a powerful advocate who has become one of the most visible leaders of the #blacklivesmatter movement. This book is part essay collection and part memoir, and delves into his beginnings as a protester, experiences in activism, and advice for fighting against white supremacy and police violence. Mckesson does a great job of making the personal political and using his own memories as a mirror for society. I feel like it took a while for his unique voice and perspective to emerge from the text, but overall, it's a meaningful glimpse into an incredible movement.
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  • Bonni
    January 1, 1970
    A breathtaking book. DeRay is able to "zoom in" to stories from his own life and masterfully "zoom out" to present compelling data regarding mass incarceration, gun violence, racial inequality, and more. The last chapter (Letter to an Activist) is worth the price of admission alone. He stresses the importance of African Americans needing to insist that others be able to hold their anger and not expect them to "perform" as if they are happy. He also gives each of us plenty of reasons for hope.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Definitely worth going back to as I think about how I can contribute to movements for social justice. Mckesson thoughtfully examines how liberation movements can be effective in the age of social media, and lays out a vision for moving society forward. It’s an expansive, embracing view that seeks justice, not revenge, and which recognizes that we can play a variety of roles according to our experiences and passions. Highly recommended for its strong emphasis on intersectionality, and on lifting Definitely worth going back to as I think about how I can contribute to movements for social justice. Mckesson thoughtfully examines how liberation movements can be effective in the age of social media, and lays out a vision for moving society forward. It’s an expansive, embracing view that seeks justice, not revenge, and which recognizes that we can play a variety of roles according to our experiences and passions. Highly recommended for its strong emphasis on intersectionality, and on lifting up unheard voices.
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  • Jordan Smith
    January 1, 1970
    It was a good book, I really enjoyed hearing DeRay McKesson’s story and his experiences. I think he has so much to off and strives so hard to better our society. The world is better because of DeRay. I gave 4 Stars because I felt like it got hard to follow at times. Sometimes the sources were blog articles and not necessarily empirical research. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about being an activist/doing social justice work and who is interested in equity It was a good book, I really enjoyed hearing DeRay McKesson’s story and his experiences. I think he has so much to off and strives so hard to better our society. The world is better because of DeRay. I gave 4 Stars because I felt like it got hard to follow at times. Sometimes the sources were blog articles and not necessarily empirical research. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about being an activist/doing social justice work and who is interested in equity and justice. He shares very strong information about police brutality and inequality.
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  • Randall
    January 1, 1970
    If you are curious who Deray Mckesson is, where he came from, what has influenced his thinking, and what he's working on, this is a good primer. That being said, his writing in this book has a more academic feel than his podcast, Pod Save the People, where he and his panelists are more accessible. While Deray does give some tangible examples to explain his thinking, it is still often rather abstract and could use some more fleshing out. That being said, his story and what he's experienced is imp If you are curious who Deray Mckesson is, where he came from, what has influenced his thinking, and what he's working on, this is a good primer. That being said, his writing in this book has a more academic feel than his podcast, Pod Save the People, where he and his panelists are more accessible. While Deray does give some tangible examples to explain his thinking, it is still often rather abstract and could use some more fleshing out. That being said, his story and what he's experienced is important to read about and to understand. I hope he continues to write and to speak.
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  • Elizabeth Kissling
    January 1, 1970
    I've admired DeRay McKesson for years and was excited to read On the Other Side of Freedom. He has described his new book as a collection of essays, but they work together coherently. The book is an engaging and smart synthesis of accessible philosophy, practical guide, and memoir. It would have been a great addition to the seminar I taught on activism a year ago; I'm confident students would enjoy it and find it personally meaningful.
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  • Karen Adkins
    January 1, 1970
    I've been listening to Mckesson's Pod Save the People for a while now, and really appreciated the way he talks about justice issues for people of color. This combination memoir/reflection on justice is in the same ballpark; it's reflective, realistic without being cynical, motivating, and pragmatic (I particularly appreciated his observations about working with people when he had substantive disagreements with them). He also happens to be a really lyrical writer.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the essays in this book. DeRay Mckesson is a gifted writer and tackles tough issues with clarity and grace. The impacts of racism, homophobia and our inhumane justice system are treated as they need to be - as human built systems that can and must be rebuilt. A book worth reading for the national conversation we need to be having.
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  • Bonnie
    January 1, 1970
    I never understood why Barack Obama titled one of his books The Audacity of Hope, but I get it now. This is packed full of wisdom, insight, and hope. I love Pod Save the People, and DeRay shines in this written collection of his experience in trying to better the world for others. I felt like I was in church.
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  • Shiloh Modisett
    January 1, 1970
    I was not surprised by how much I loved this as I have listened to DeRay for years as a voice of guidance since the beginning of the BLM movement. The way he weaves his own story into the education on how power and privilege play out in our country is truly remarkable. Everyone should read this book.
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  • Mimi Stevenson
    January 1, 1970
    Great read covering all kinds of topics ranging from activism to how to get involved to discord amongst the activist community and privilege and sexuality. He’s a great writer and I’d love to read more from him.
  • Emmanuel
    January 1, 1970
    So much power in these pages, but can I also say that this is the single greatest opening line of an essay?: "It wasn't that I didn't believe in god, but that I believed in Storm from the X-Men more." <3!
  • Lainey
    January 1, 1970
    Keep the fight. Thank you.
  • Kari
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsDeRay argues for making the world a better place by actively believing in and working for the changes that are necessary. I appreciated the stories about his time in Ferguson and what he saw and experienced there.
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