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Memoir of a Race Traitor
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Memoir of a Race Traitor

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  264 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Against a backdrop of nine generations of her family's history, Mab Segrest explores her experience as a white lesbian organizing against a virulent Far Right movement in North Carolina.
Paperback, 274 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by South End Press (first published July 1st 1994)
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Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm having a time in my life right now. I'll spare the details for this forum, but it has lead to my decision to read exclusively lesbian memoirs. I'm needing a bit of reflection in my life.

This book seemed like an obvious choice. I have a lot of surface commonalities with the author, Mab Segrest: we're both gay white female southern anti racists. We also moved from relatively more conservative and stifling places in the South to North Carolina where we found both gay and radical community. But
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The first, largest section of this book is the memoir part of the book, what the book takes its title from. It is largely a memoir of Segrest's time doing anti-racist organizing in North Carolina, set against the backdrop of her white family's long history of perpetuating white supremacy -- both her close, immediate family and her distant, long-dead relatives. She isn't too ashamed to write of the Black men her relatives killed, or the organizing her father did against desegregated schools in Al ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this book is three parts: a memoir of mab segrest's time doing intense anti-klan organizing in the south; a brief tracing of the lineage of racism in the united states; and her 1993 creating change keynote speech called "a bridge, not a wedge," which outlines the future of fascism in unsurprisingly prescient ways, and proposes queer socialism as the politic of our future. i wish queer socialism had prevailed instead of homonationalist assimilationism and i hope to see more of us moving towards t ...more
Mar 27, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a great book in many ways. First I was amazed by the extent of recent horrible activity by the klan in NC. I knew about some of this, but was glad to be exposed to more of the facts through a practically first hand account.

This book did a good job of showing the link between racism and homophobia, and why standing up against both serves the same purpose in striving for a nobler future for humanity. It also convincingly links religious and economic condemnations by the right wing power
Jenny Yates
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing

What a great book! Segrest is a clear and perceptive thinker and an eloquent writer, and her story is definitely worth telling and remembering.

Most of the book tells us about Segrest’s work combating the Klan, the White Patriot Party, and other racist forces in the South. Alongside this is her own family’s story. She describes their history, their contradictions, and their adoption of the racist beliefs of their Southern community. And she details her own reaction to the dramatic events of the
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: done-reading
Of the three books of Mab Segrest's I've read, I think this is my favorite. Her stories of her own evolution are amazing. I think what really gets to me is that 1) how recently (last 20-30 years) some of these events occurred and 2)The more things change, the more they stay the same, unfortunately. Mab has done a great deal of work in the South, fighting against the KKK and fighting for racial justice. Many times I found myself shaking my head wondering how come we humans can't learn from our mi ...more
I am reading this for an anti-racist discussion/reflection group. I was excited to be reading the same book as others because it reminds me of being smart and in university. I am going to read this book faster than everyone in the discussion group. "Let the race begin" (pun intended).

Least importantly I did not win the race... I was second of the group to finish the book. We will discuss it in a few weeks.

Anyway, the book is a reflection of Segrest's efforts to dismantle the threat of the KKK i
Oct 31, 2016 added it
tbh I don't know how I felt about this book. Mad scary to read about the Far Right's organizing late into the 80's. Interesting and weird to read about movement building against the klan and neo-nazis in North Carolina, including Durham and Greensboro during the same time period. But Mab is kindof a burn-out organizer which is not that inspiring. And she didn't seem like a great listener, which is one of the most important parts of anti racist work and organizing.
Dec 20, 2007 added it
i have been reading this book forever. it's a book that i had on my mental "to-read" list for awhile, but i finally got around to it when chris gave me a copy. however, i haven't been able to get into it. there's not much of a narrative and it's hard to pick up and get into it. it's not a subway book, and that's where i do most of my reading. but it is next to my bed, and i should get back to it. i'm hoping that posting it here will be the push i need to finish it.
Dec 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Segrest describes her years fighting White Supremecists in North Carolina in alternating chapters with chapters describing her family background, coming out as a lesbian, and her personal life. After these sections is a condensed but fascinating analysis of race history in the US, and the final section of the book is a speech she gave to a gay & lesbian gathering where she urges the audience to be more involved in anti-racism and involving people of color in the movement.
May 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Mab Segrest writes a non-linear autobiography on her anti-Klan work fighting against racism and homophobia. Her accounts are honest and complex. Some of the book was vague and/or missing information - I have heard from others who heard Segrest speak that she did so to protect herself from those perhaps still alive who might retaliate.
Jun 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young radicals
Shelves: queer, life-stories
I think AmyLaura gave me this book and it had a profound impact on me when I read it over a decade ago.

The author is a white Southern woman, a lesbian, and anti-racist. This is the story of her life and how she managed to turn out the way she did.

An excellent read for young radicals.
Roxanne Cordonier
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
An interesting compilation of stories and facts about racism and the KKK in North Carolina in the 1980's. Segrest's rambling style of writing made this book a bit of a slogh at times. It was fascinating to know some of these stories but I wish the writing had been tighter and the book shorter.
Feb 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Autobiography of a white lesbian radically organizing and fighting racism and the KKK through the 1970's and 80's.

Dec 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
Amazing! Autobiography of a queer woman organizing against white supremacists in the south. Incredible courage and vision.
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so hard!
May 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Incredible book by white lesbian organizing against white supremacist groups in North Carolina. A great reflection on how white folks can be working within our own communities to heal from racism.
Oct 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for any anti-racist white activist. This book chronicles her experiences doing anti-Klan organizing in North Carolina. Really amazing biography.
Feb 19, 2008 rated it liked it
I found parts of this book to be a little dry but I always enjoy reading about other white folks actively fighting racism.
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, read-in-2015
I found this especially interesting as it focuses on racism in North Carolina in areas familiar to me.
Sep 02, 2008 added it
Shelves: tried-meh
This is one of the only books I've had to put down due to poor typesetting. Too many words jumbled on too few pages.
Jul 22, 2008 rated it liked it
The very local and startlingly recent account of racism in North Carolina was very interesting.
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Aug 12, 2007
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Sep 01, 2008
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Feb 26, 2008
Randon Lund
rated it it was ok
Aug 02, 2015
Sarah Jane
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Feb 25, 2009
Dr Sheldon I Roach
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Sep 19, 2017
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Mar 17, 2008
Kate Eubank
rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2012
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Mabelle ("Mab) Massey Segrest is an American feminist, lesbian, writer, and activist.

Born in Alabama, Segrest received her Ph.D. in Modern British Literature from Duke University in 1979 and was appointed the Fuller-Matthai Professor of Gender & Women's Studies at Connecticut College in 2004.

Segrest is often recognized for her efforts combatting sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, and other
More about Mab Segrest...