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Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice Paperback – March 7, 2003


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Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice + Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer + Emancipation: The Making of the Black Lawyer, 1844-1944
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Advanced Read edition (March 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743253515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743253512
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,204,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Bill Clinton nominated University of Pennsylvania Law School Professor Lani Guinier to the position of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in 1993, she was immediately beset upon by right-wing critics of the president. Taking her writings on cumulative and proportional voting out of context, they branded her a "quota queen." Guinier, on instructions from administration officials, made almost no effort to defend herself against this public smearing of her work and reputation. Then, to her surprise, Clinton himself withdrew her nomination, stating in a press conference that her views were "undemocratic."

The Tyranny of the Majority reprinted the articles that were the source of this controversy. Now, in Lift Every Voice, Professor Guinier explains the principles underlying those writings in layman's terms and offers her personal perspective on what happened in the spring and summer of 1993, taking us behind the scenes to meetings with Clinton, Attorney General Janet Reno, and other Washington officials. But perhaps more importantly, she writes about how, after she was cut loose by an intimidated White House, she regained her confidence in the civil rights movement. Recalling the activism of ordinary people like her father and the clients she represented as a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Guinier reminds us that a better society cannot be built by governmental edict alone, but requires commitment on the part of the citizenry. A recent book on mathematics, K.C. Cole's The Universe and the Teacup, vindicated Guinier's theories on proportional representation at the statistical level. The debate sparked by Lift Every Voice may, in the long run, end up vindicating her at the political level as well. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Guinier on why she lost the nomination for assistant attorney general.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Lani's book is a classic that I will pass on.
A Customer
Cumulative voting, which she calls semi-proportional, operates like any electoral system, even single-member districts.
John Wildgen (jkwpo@uno.edu)
Everyone in attendance agreed this was a most timely and informative expose on the true climate of civil rights today.
gloyd@nevp.com or JD Gloyd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Professor Guinier has seen beyond the veil which seems to have fallen over the civil rights movement for the past thirty years. Guinier uses the story of her dis-appointment (her phrase) by the Clinton Administration to expose the inner workings of the political system and clarify her views. In so doing, she lays out a strategy that is simple, obvious, and doable. While so many "leaders" have been busy listening to one another, Guinier has been able to hear a still, small, powerful voice. This book is a must read for anyone who cares about democracy.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Ameigh on October 19, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is an fine discourse on what America has - or should have - learned about the search for social justice in the quarter century since the Civil Rights marches of the 1960s. Lani Guinier is best known for her ill-fated candidacy to become the first African American and female Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. She provides a spell-binding blow by blow account of what it was like to be nominated, then cast aside in the political jockeying that followed the 1992 election of Bill Clinton to the presidency. It is a poignant tale of how ordinary people on the fringes of her battle to get a hearing in Congress stepped in to insure that she never lost her sense of professionalism, her commitment to the truth, or her right to be treated with dignity. Her ideas on reforming voting procedures, the very ones that foiled her nomination in Congress, are well worth reading, and clearly worth implementing in an age of voter apathy and political gerymandering. The theme is broader, however, and in this book she demonstrates how thoroughly she has paid her dues over the years laboring for justice in America. As a civil rights lawyer in the 70s and 80s she went back to Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and other southern states to pick up where the civil rights movement of the 60s left off. Her talent for getting people to listen to the messages embodied in unfamiliar language and cultural expression is a gift to us all. Her story is full of important new insights into the nature of cross-cultural communication. She proclaims from her own experiences a critical need for wide-open discussion of social issues. Lawyers, she asserts, cannot win civil rights cases without the active participation of the public, and she calls for a return to grass-roots activism as a means to achieving social justice. Guinier is superbly analytical, a true listener, and a fine writer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By gloyd@nevp.com or JD Gloyd on May 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Prof. Guinier has sounded a call to all concerned Americans, not just African-Americans, to be alert and aware of the continued injustices being being imposed upon the "silent minority".
Our AAABC (African-American Authors Book Club) group chose this book to review for our May session. Everyone in attendance agreed this was a most timely and informative expose on the true climate of civil rights today. Prof. Guinier helped us to understand some of the "behind closed doors" politics that go on every day. She further enlightens us on the provocative slants the media can put on issues in order to further hidden agendas.
We thought, during the time of her nominaton, that she was not being treated the same as the other candidates, but, we never really understood why nor did we understand what was really happening. Now we DO know and understand. Now we also realize that we should never again stand by without making our voices heard when we see this type of injustice happen. (We know it will happen again.)
Thanks Lani, for telling your story (our story), as a woman with an issue and "not a grievance".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
who come to mind include... Barbaara Jordan, Angela Davis, Represtntative Jackson (Texas)... especially when support for outstanding people like Lani Guinier is needed. "Where were they (those so-called black influential leaders) when their help was needed ... probably doing the Ostrich thing, along with the usual commenusrating that can always be expected in those little private circles. The ones we respected and would be guided by in the 60's are yet to be developed for the 21st Century. Lani's book is a classic that I will pass on.
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