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50 Years of Assimilation

50 Years of Assimilation


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50 Years of Assimilation: From the Midwest to the Wild West and All the Blackness & Whiteness In-Between

Wanda Lee-Stevens

50 Years of Assimilation is not an African American story, or a Black story. It is an American story. Dr. Martin Luther King proclaimed, "I Have a Dream" on August 28, 1963. For millions of listeners, Dr. King's words promised the opening of a new and wondrous window-of equal opportunity-for "citizens of all color"-to live "The American Dream." Author Wanda Lee-Stevens was born that same year, and for her, the future could not have looked brighter. In the wake of Dr. King's speech, she had been born in a "new land" where she could fulfill his vision of that historical, transformational moment.

Now after a half-century of living her "reality," in a new book, 50 Years of Assimilation: From the Midwest to the Wild West and All the Blackness & Whiteness In-Between, the author opens a deeply personal-yet public-window for all Americans to look further into what it was that Dr. King "saw" on that celebrated day. Her book is a "love letter," and open letter, to Dr. King, in which she remembers, poignantly, and with deep respect, the man who dared to dream a future for her steeped "in the riches of freedom and the securities of justice."

In her letter, she asks Dr. King to look ahead, to come along with her, and countless fellow Americans, on the long, long road it has been to live out his "Dream." Her book chronicles her life, starting from a warm, funny, love-filled, bewildering, and insightful childhood in Detroit, during the turbulent 60s and 70s, and traveling across our great country to her real and unpredictable adult life in the progressive and multi-cultural world of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Her story tells how she relies on, and transforms, her Detroit sensibilities in order to navigate the challenges of education, work, friendships, and family, with the goal of getting in, fitting in, and making it. And always, she asks Dr. King, "Is this what you saw? Is this what you meant?" With blunt humor and bold candor, the author invites her readers to follow her life packed full with intriguing, insightful, and often dramatic episodes of everyday occurrences-revealing the psychology of how we Americans seek MLK's "freedom" within the societal confines of race-and: from post-civil rights social confusion to the current "post-racial" politically-correct film that is now portrayed as the norm for America.

The author herself experiences injustice; sometimes surprisingly, and it is both overt and covert. She shares her struggle to achieve her place in American acceptance. Just to be "American" or just "human" is often a risky endeavor. Ms. Lee-Stevens authentically poses the timely and urgent questions: Following the 50th Anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and The Voting Rights Act of 1965: What does your dream of freedom really look like in 21st century? And are we really living out our dreams? The author tells Dr. King, honestly, that her own journey has been one of "assimilation."

Paperback, 302 pages, 0.63" H x 8.5" L x 5.5" W (0.77 lbs)

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