The little-known and under-studied 1807 Insurrection Act was passed to give the president the ability to deploy federal military forces to fend off lawlessness and rebellion, but it soon became much more than the sum of its parts. Its power is integrally linked to the perceived threat of black American equity.
Allan chronicles not just the history of the hundreds of years of racism on this continent, but pays special attention to the extraordinary events of the past several years, while linking them to the past ... For those who may have felt disoriented by the daily barrage of surreal news during those times, Allan reminds us that such incidents have strong parallels in the recent past ... Like our narrative understanding of history itself, perhaps, Allan’s book is a series of vignettes, snapshots of significant happenings arranged in a roughly chronological order ... it is a collection of disparate viewpoints, as Allan toggles between her own lived experiences and centuries-old historical events ... The result is a sprawling, yet personal, meditation on the history of the rights of black citizens in America ... While navigating some of America’s most dramatic history, it resonates with Allan’s essential, personal truth.
A meditative history ... Throughout, Allan’s personal reflections and experiences add a depth and immediacy to the narrative that highlights the continued struggles of Black Americans to obtain and enjoy the rights of full citizenship many take for granted ... Allan’s prose seamlessly draws the personal and historical together in a book that general readers of U.S. history will find interesting and thought-provoking.
Incisive ... Allan weaves the perspectives of W.E.B. Du Bois, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and other key thinkers on racial justice issues with her own experiences ... Eloquently mixing history, autobiography, and philosophy, this powerful account sheds new light on the Black experience in America.