This African-American Life: A Memoir
Hugh B. Price’s memoir, This African-American Life, isn’t just the story of his own journey, in many ways it is the story of what it means to be American. Tracing his ancestry to the 1860s, he tells the story of a family intent on building itself to be a testament to hard work, ingenuity, and passion, something the founders of this country were also intent upon in their separation from England.
Reading Price’s book is both moving and thoughtful. It is moving in his depiction of his family and the beginning of his career and his life as an activist, and thoughtful in the ways he illustrates his leadership as the president and CEO of the National Urban League from 1994-2003. He weaves his own family history and its influence on him into the narrative, often referring to the way that history shaped him, specifically his interest in and promotion of the importance of education.
For me, the passages that were most compelling were those dealing with race relations throughout Price’s career. In Chapter 16, “Taking the Reins in Contentious Times,” he discusses former President Bill Clinton’s work with and for the African-American community and the ways in which Clinton misfired. The discussion focuses on the National Urban League’s involvement with federal government and the pull between conservatives and liberals over affirmative action, Clinton’s now infamous crime bill, and a “supposedly color-blind society.” He references the conservatives’ trotting out of “angry whites as the symbolic victims of affirmative action,” a practice begun in the ‘90s that has only picked up steam in the Trump era.
Perhaps that is what makes Price’s book so prescient: while he masterfully writes about his own experiences, so much of what he documents resonates with the political world today. For anyone interested in delving more into what makes this country so beautifully complex, specifically the strong men and women working for change within it, Price’s This African-American Life is a must read.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
|Author||Hugh B. Price|
|Page Count||288 pages|
|Publisher||John F. Blair, Publisher|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|