What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America by Michael Eric Dyson

In May of 1963, Bobby Kennedy arranged a meeting with James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry and Lena Horne. In this meeting according to one of the New York Times first black reporters Layhmond Robinson, the group told RFK that "an 'explosive situation' had developed in the North that potentially, was at least equal to the growing strife in the south." 

This meeting with Bobby Kennedy made it to the front page of the New York Times. According to Dr. Dyson meetings like this one should serve as a model towards "wrestling our way to an uplifting resolution to seemingly intractable problems".  

As I consider the book written by Dr. Dyson and the current affairs in our nation, I see the need for not only dialogue but an honest look into the racial climate within our nation. Bobby's bold stance to meet with groups and certain figures to address the increasing racial crises of the country at that time, demonstrated a willingness (although at times discouraged) to seek racial reconciliation in a country divided by the color line. 

At the Kennedy family apartment in Central Park, we get to peer into the future of what civil discourse could look like when those that yearn for a more equitable society, welcome growth, despite how painful it is. 

The book What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F Kennedy and James Baldwin and Our Unfinished Conversation about Race in America by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is both engaging and thought-provoking because it highlights an unsung narrative of one of the most essential moments in American history on race relations. 

Other books that can encourage intercultural communication:

White Rage by Carol Anderson

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Chokehold: Policing Black Men by Paul Butler

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin, DiAngelo

If you have any titles you would like to suggest that would encourage civil discourse please share them with us. 


Written by J.Allen on August 1, 2018



Thank you so much for your blog! I always find great recommendations in your posts. I'll be sure to check out Dyson's new book.

BEYOND FED UP on August 15, 2018