A short post to collect a few items and to thank everyone for the wonderful support I’ve already gotten, with the book release still two weeks away. After four years of work, it’s an exciting and somewhat overwhelming time for me, to say the least.
First, thanks to Evan Dawson and my old photographer colleague Max Schulte for this wonderful review in CITY. To answer a common question: no, I’m not reading a Polish-language children’s book in the photo with my kids. I’m pointing at the pictures in a Polish-language children’s book. It’s an important difference.
Second, I’ve added an events page to my website; you’ll see it on the menu bar. That’s the best way to keep up with me. I’ve heard of great interest from some of these places, including at Hipocampo where we decided to split one event into two to accommodate more people. Thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered the book or talked about it with their friends.
Third, a lackluster conclusion to my planned series of posts highlighting and thanking the people who provided blurbs for my book. The two remaining ones are from heavyweights in the field of school segregration research.
Matthew Delmont is a historian at Dartmouth University and the author of “Why Busing Failed: Race Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation.” This was probably my single most important secondary source for the Civil Rights era and the issue of “busing.” I put it in quotation marks because Delmont does so throughout his book. As he explained: “With ‘busing,’ northerners found a palatable way to oppose desegregation without appealing to the explicitly racist sentiments they preferred to associate with southerners.” That was an incredibly helpful lens for me in thinking about the nature of anti-desegregation protests in Rochester.
Here is what Delmont wrote about my book:
“Murphy brings to light the complex and contentious issues of school desegregation and educational equality in Rochester, New York. From Frederick Douglass in the nineteenth century to Black parents in the Civil Rights era, Murphy details generations of Black activism. This is a local story with national implications.”
My last blurb came from the godfather himself, Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. To say that Orfield is an important figure in school segregation research would be like calling Mozart an important figure in classical music. No one has been researching and writing about this topic for as long or in such an influential manner, both among academics and the general public.
I’ve got Orfield citations throughout my notes section, and so I was just thrilled that he said this about my book:
“In our dangerously polarized society, a viable future depends on educating all children fairly, preparing them to live and work together in a society without a racial majority. Justin Murphy’s carefully documented, quietly passionate book about generations of segregation and failure in Rochester’s deeply unequal schools calls us start now on building a real path toward integration.”
Thanks again to those generous scholars and to everyone who has bought the book. More to come!