A unique collaboration between the American Civil Liberties Union and authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, Fight of the Century features original essays by the most influential writers at work today—including Jennifer Egan, Neil Gaiman, Marlon James, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Salman Rushdie, Jesmyn Ward, and more—each writing about a landmark ACLU case, published in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the organization.

The American Civil Liberties Union began as a small group of idealists and visionaries, including Helen Keller and Jane Addams. A century after its founding, the ACLU remains the nation’s premier defender of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

In collaboration with the ACLU, prize-winning authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman have curated an anthology of essays about landmark cases in the ACLU’s 100-year history. In Fight of the Century, bestselling and award-winning authors present unique literary takes on historic decisions like Brown v. Board of Education, the Scopes trial, Roe v. Wade, and more. Contributors include Geraldine Brooks, Michael Cunningham, Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, Neil Gaiman, Lauren Groff, Marlon James, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Morgan Parker, Ann Patchett, Salman Rushdie, George Saunders, Elizabeth Strout, Jesmyn Ward, Meg Wolitzer, and more.

Fight of the Century shows how throughout American history, pivotal legal battles, fought primarily by underdogs and their lawyers, have advanced civil rights and social justice. The ACLU has been integral in this process. The essays range from personal memoir to narrative history, each shedding light on the work of one remarkable organization as it shaped a country.

Chabon and Waldman are donating their advance to the ACLU and the contributors are forgoing payment.
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About the author

Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of many books, including The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Gentlemen of the Road, Telegraph Avenue, Moonglow, Pops, and the picture book The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man. He is the editor, with Ayelet Waldman, of Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation and Fight of the Century.

Ayelet Waldman is the author of the memoir, A Really Good Day, as well as of novels including Love and Treasure, Red Hook Road, and Love and Other Impossible Pursuits. She is the editor of Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons, and with Michael Chabon, of Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation and Fight of the Century.

Dave Eggers is the bestselling author of seven books, including A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award; Zeitoun, winner of the American Book Award and Dayton Literary Peace Prize; and What Is the What, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won France’s Prix Medici. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, which operates a secondary school in South Sudan run by Mr. Deng. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine, The Believer:, a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries, Wholphin, and an oral history series, Voice of Witness. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he cofounded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Eggers is also the founder of ScholarMatch, a program that matches donors with students needing funds for college tuition. A native of Chicago, Eggers now lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.

Meg Wolitzer’s novels include The Female Persuasion; Sleepwalking; This Is Your Life; Surrender, Dorothy; and The Position. She lives in New York City.

Moriel Rothman-Zecher is an Israeli-American novelist and poet. He is a 2018 National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and received a 2017 MacDowell Colony Fellowship for Literature. His writing has been published in The New York Times, The Paris Review’s “The Daily,” Haaretz, and elsewhere. He lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with his wife, Kayla, and daughter, Nahar. Read more at TheLefternWall.com and follow him on Twitter @Moriel_RZ.

Jennifer Egan is the author of six previous books of fiction: Manhattan Beach, winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellend in Fiction; A Visit from the Goon Squad, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Keep; the story collection Emerald City; Look at Me, a National Book Award Finalist; and The Invisible Circus. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, Granta, McSweeney's, and The New York Times Magazine.

Neil Gaiman is an award-winning author of books, graphic novels, short stories, and films for all ages. His titles include Norse Mythology, The Graveyard Book, Coraline, The View from the Cheap Seats, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere, and the Sandman series of graphic novels, among other works. His fiction has received Newbery, Carnegie, Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Eisner awards. The film adaptation of his short story “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” and the second season of the critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated television adaptation of his novel American Gods will be released in 2018. Born in the UK, he now lives in the United States.

Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and has received the MacArthur Genius Grant, a Stegner Fellowship, a John and Renee Grisham Writers Residency, and the Strauss Living Prize. She is the winner of two National Book Awards for Fiction for Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017) and Salvage the Bones (2011). She is also the author of the novel Where the Line Bleeds and the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and the Media for a Just Society Award. She is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University and lives in Mississippi.

Anthony Doerr is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See. He is also the author of two story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won four O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize. Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's first book, Random Family, was a New York Times Bestseller, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the winner of The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the Ridenhour Book Prize. LeBlanc's work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Esquire, Elle, Spin, The Source, The Village Voice, and other magazines. LeBlanc lives in Manhattan.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jan 21, 2020
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781501190421
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / General
Literary Collections / Essays
Political Science / Civil Rights
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The civil rights problem of the mid-twentieth century was one of the greatest challenges to the American social fabric since the Civil War. Riots in scores of cities, and serious intergroup tensions and conflicts in thousands more, underlined the seriousness of the problem.

Administrative Implementation of Civil Rights examines the role, operation, and contribution of the device most often relied on by local and state governments for dealing with intergroup problems—the human- relations commission. First used in the early 1940s to deal with discrimination against blacks, this commission was later often charged with implementing the civil rights of other minority groups and of women, the elderly, the handicapped, and the poor. It is Joseph Parker Witherspoon’s thesis that the human-relations commission was not used effectively, that an agency of this type has great strengths that most local and state governments did not utilize, and that its weaknesses are susceptible of remedy and must be eliminated. He explains these weaknesses and develops proposals for correcting them.

 Witherspoon examines the roles of the local, state, and federal governments in solving this country’s complicated and serious civil rights problem and demonstrates that a program that carefully coordinates action by the federal government with action by local and state governments could be made to work effectively. As a part of this demonstration he proposes the enactment of a new form of comprehensive civil rights legislation at local, state, and national levels, and presents a series of four model statutes—the Alpha Model Acts—for effectuating his proposals. The approach emphasized in these statutes greatly strengthens the role of the human-relations commission as a law-enforcement agency and, in particular, focuses the operation of federal and state action upon life in the individual community.

 The book concludes with a group of appendices listing all state and many local commissions and agencies handling human-relations problems at that time, and summarizing the type of authority, the jurisdiction, the operating budget, and the legislative basis for each. This list will be of interest to those studying the history of civil rights and public policy in the United States.

Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize
A New York Times 2016 Notable Book
One of Oprah’s 10 Favorite Books of 2016
NPR's Debut Novel of the Year
One of Buzzfeed's Best Fiction Books Of 2016
One of Time's Top 10 Novels of 2016

“Homegoing is an inspiration.” —Ta-Nehisi Coates 


The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.
           
Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
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