Reniqua Allen: It Was All A Dream
A New Generation Confronts the Broken Promise to Black America
This year, New America celebrates 20 years of creating and incubating the next big ideas that address some of the nation's and the world’s toughest problems. We are thinkers, researchers, problem-solvers, and storytellers, united by our goal to hold our nation to its highest ideals. We recognize the challenges presented by rapid technological and social change, and work to ensure that the solutions made possible by those changes lead to greater opportunity for all. As we reach forward toward the next 20 years of New America, we will strive to be an engine of American renewal, at home and abroad.
Young Black Americans have been trying to realize the promise of the American Dream for centuries and coping with the reality of its limitations for just as long. Now, a new generation is pursuing success, happiness, and freedom -- on their own terms.
In It Was All a Dream: A New Generation Confronts the Broken Promise to Black America, Reniqua Allen tells the stories of Black millennials searching for a better future in spite of racist policies that have closed off traditional versions of success. Many watched their parents and grandparents play by the rules, only to sink deeper and deeper into debt. They witnessed their elders fight to escape cycles of oppression for more promising prospects, largely to no avail. Today, in this post-Obama era, they face a critical turning point.
Interweaving her own experience with those of young Black Americans in cities and towns from New York to Los Angeles and Bluefield, West Virginia to Chicago, Allen shares surprising stories of hope and ingenuity. Instead of accepting downward mobility, Black millennials are flipping the script and rejecting White America's standards. Whether it means moving away from cities and heading South, hustling in the entertainment industry, challenging ideas about gender and sexuality, or building activist networks, they are determined to forge their own path.
Compassionate and deeply reported, It Was All a Dream is a celebration of a generation's doggedness against all odds, as they fight for a country in which their dreams can become a reality.
Join New America's Millennials Initiative and Fellows Program as they celebrate Reniqua Allen's book, It Was All a Dream.
Reniqua Allen, @rnz1
Author, It Was All A Dream: A New Generation Confronts the Broken Promise to Black America
New America Fellow
Reid Cramer, @ReidCramer
Director, Millennials Initiative, New America
Follow the conversation online using #20Years200Fellows and following @NAFellows.