Dream Town: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial Equity

Books on Tape. Aug. 2023. 14:42 hrs. ISBN 9780593793541. $95. HIST
Debi Tinsley offers a marvelous narration of journalist Meckler’s in-depth analysis of her hometown of Shaker Heights, OH. Meckler examines Shaker Heights’s long history, from its roots as a village of friendly Shakers in the 1800s to an elite white enclave in the early 1900s to an integrated community in the 1950s. Her account concludes in the present, as city schools openly work toward an equitable education for all students. Listeners will appreciate how Tinsley carefully alters her narrative voice when reading quotations from witnesses, though these voicings tend to sound quite similar. She is objective when reading about the early history of the place. Still, she allows tension and disgust to build in her performance when describing the white flight and elitism that emerged in the 1950s and again in the 1990s, when administrators integrated white schools by closing Black schools and bussing black students in. Tinsley conveys the author’s hopefulness, describing how today’s schools have committed to pursuing educational equity. Reading the last two chapters and source notes, Meckler adds a personal touch.
VERDICT This portrait of one community’s struggle to achieve racial equity should appeal to those interested in social justice, education reform, and civil rights.
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