Veteran activist Mab Segrest takes readers along on her travels to
view a world experiencing extraordinary change. She visits Beijing,
for the Fourth World Conference on Women; Atlanta, to examine
gentrified Olympic development; Memphis, for the twentieth
anniversary of Elvis's death; Honolulu, for a conference linking
gay issues; and Johannesburg and Harare, Zimbabwe, for a world
gathering of Christians.
The book is a journey of both intellectual and emotional
discovery. As she travels from place to place, Segrest speculates
on the effects of globalization and urban development on people,
examines the struggles for racial, economic, gender, and sexual
equality, and narrates her own powerful history as a lesbian in the
American South. The book's title takes off from the African idea of
ubuntu, which roughly translates as "born to belonging." From the
principle that we all belong to the human community, Segrest uses
her personal experience as a filter for larger political and
cultural issues. Her writing traverses the globe, bringing together
such diverse groups as the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina, fledging
gay rights activists in Zimbabwe, and resistance fighters in El
Salvador who have seen the enemy mutate from an openly oppressive
government to more amorphous economic depression with its attendant
alienation. Segrest expertly plumbs her own personal experiences
for organizing principles and maxims to combat racism, homophobia,
sexism, and economic exploitation.
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