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Laura Meckler in Conversation

March 7 @ 6:00 pm 7:00 pm

Ohio Humanities and WOSU are co-sponsoring a special virtual program with reporter and author Laura Meckler on Thursday, March 7th, 2024. Laura will be in conversation about her new book, Dream Town: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial Equity with Dr. Marilyn Mobley, emerita professor of English and Africana Studies at Case Western Reserve University and former teacher at Shaker Heights High School. Debbie Holmes, “All Things Considered” host, will moderate. 

Dream Town: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial EquityIn this searing and intimate examination of the ideals and realities of racial integration, award-winning Washington Post journalist Laura Meckler tells the story of a decades-long pursuit in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and uncovers the roadblocks that have threatened progress time and again—in housing, in education, and in the promise of shared community.

In the late 1950s, Shaker Heights began groundbreaking work that would make it a national model for housing integration. And beginning in the seventies, it was known as a crown jewel in the national move to racially integrate schools. The school district built a reputation for academic excellence and diversity, serving as a model for how white and Black Americans can thrive together. Meckler—herself a product of Shaker Heights—takes a deeper look into the place that shaped her, investigating its complicated history and its ongoing challenges in order to untangle myth from truth. She confronts an enduring, and troubling, question—if Shaker Heights has worked so hard at racial equity, why does a racial academic achievement gap persist?

In telling the stories of the Shakerites who have built and lived in this community, Meckler asks: What will it take to fulfill the promise of racial integration in America? What compromises are people of all races willing to make? What does success look like, and has Shaker achieved it? The result is a complex and masterfully reported portrait of a place that, while never perfect, has achieved more than most and a road map for communities that seek to do the same.

Please register for the event here.

Ohio Humanities


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