Laura Meckler, national education writer for the Washington Post, visits the Bexley Public Library to read from and discuss her new book Dream Town: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial Equity. In Dream Town, Meckler asks the question, "Can a community of well-intentioned people fulfill the promise of racial integration in America?" Join us for an afternoon with award-winning Washington Post journalist Laura Meckler to learn about the successes and roadblocks that Shaker Heights has faced in working towards racial equity and how it might serve as a roadmap for communities like Bexley.
About the Author:
Laura Meckler is the national education writer for the Washington Post, where she covers the news, politics, policies, and people shaping American schools.
She previously reported on the White House, presidential politics, immigration, and health care for the Wall Street Journal, as well as on health and social policy for the Associated Press. Before coming to Washington, Laura covered state government in Columbus, Ohio. She got her start covering everything from schools and cops to the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame festival at The Repository in Canton, Ohio.
Laura graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, and serves as vice president of the board that oversees her college newspaper.
Her honors include a Nieman Fellowship, as well as Livingston Award for National Reporting, for her coverage of organ transplantation. She also was part of a team that won the George Polk Award for Justice Reporting for a series on the life of George Floyd. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two sons.
About the Book:
"In 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 became 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 both 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."
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