Unsympathetic, ambiguous, and openly racist remarks are a hallmark of Donald Trump’s public life. They may have reached their nadir after he failed to condemn white supremacy in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, but perhaps no remark of his is more telling than his campaign pitch to African Americans: “What the hell do you have to lose?”
Quite a lot, as it turns out. In this vigorous and timely book, civil rights historian and political analyst Juan Williams issues the truth about just what African Americans have to lose, and how Trump is threatening to take it away. In Williams’s lifetime, civil rights have improved, vastly and against great resistance — including from Trump and his family. Using the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a rubric, Williams recounts the less known and forgotten stories of heroes like Bob Moses, A. Philip Randolph, and Everett Dirksen, who fought for voting rights, integration of public schools and spaces, and more.
This book is not merely a much-needed and highly visible history lesson. It signals the alarm about the Trump administration’s policies and intentions, which pose a threat to civil rights without precedent in modern America.
In a polarized era, it’s especially telling when moderates like Williams are prepared to stand up and shout. This book is clear-sighted, inspiring, and necessary, from an author with the experience and standing to make it heard.