It Was All a Dream
A New Generation Confronts the Broken Promise to Black America
By Reniqua Allen
The story of how the American Dream has failed young black Americans, offering a deeply reported, compassionate portrait of a generation searching for a better future.
In the last few decades, any hope of economic progress for black Americans has been slowly and steadily undermined. This quiet crisis was only exacerbated by the recession, which cut black households' wealth by over 30 percent. Black millennials watched their parents try to play by the rules, buying homes and aspiring to the trappings of middle-class life, only to sink deeper and deeper into debt. Now, in the post-Obama era, young black Americans face a critical turning point, as they try to realize dreams too long deferred.
In It Was All a Dream, Reniqua Allen tells the stories--too often overlooked--of black millennials struggling, innovating, and flourishing. We meet a former college athlete burdened with mounting debt; a fashion entrepreneur who, like so many of her generation, has left New York for southern cities like Atlanta; a sex worker in Chicago; and an ambitious Republican college student who wrestles with being a black conservative on campus. Allen interweaves reflections on defining moments, from Hurricane Katrina to the murder of Michael Brown to the election of Donald Trump. Together, the lives and reflections in these pages offer a portrait of a generation on the brink, tracing their efforts to build their own futures and write their own history.
Reniqua Allen, a former fellow at New America and a former Emerging Voices Fellow at Demos, is completing her PhD in American Studies at Rutgers University. She has served as a producer for WNYC's United States of Anxiety, an associate producer for Moyers & Company, and a field producer for the PBS/POV documentary Overcoming: The Struggle for a Black Middle Class, on which she collaborated with Bob Herbert. She has been a commentator on MSNBC, NPR, and WBUR, and has written for the New York Times, Washington Post,Guardian, Quartz, San Francisco Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, Atlantic, and more.
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- Publication date:
31 Jan 2019
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