Cover: The Alchemy of Race and Rights, from Harvard University PressCover: The Alchemy of Race and Rights in PAPERBACK

The Alchemy of Race and Rights

Add to Cart

Product Details


$31.50 • £25.95 • €28.50

ISBN 9780674014718

Publication Date: 03/01/1992


272 pages

5-7/8 x 9 inches


Williams is an original and imaginative mind, an unstultified, insubordinate thinker who jumps off cliffs and lands on her feet, who flies close to the sun and never melts her wings. She accomplishes the near impossible: simultaneous depth of engagement in law and world. The alchemical forge she theorizes between race and rights parallels her own method: ‘the making of something out of nothing.’ See what she makes out of sausage, polar bears, Beethoven. See if you can ever shop at Benetton’s again.—Catharine A. MacKinnon, University of Michigan Law School

One of the most invitingly personal, even vulnerable, books I’ve read… Williams has a knack for keeping you just a bit off balance… Her readings invigorate familiar controversies: If you thought there was nothing new to be said about Howard Beach or Eleanor Bumpurs, Tawana Brawley or Baby M., read Williams on them. But some of the most magical turns of argument flow from far less public events… The law needs a brain…and, even more, a heart and some courage. Certificates won’t help. This book just might.—Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Nation

Williams melds sophisticated legal scholarship, memoir and allegory into a rich melange that will change perceptions about the substance and spirit of black women… At a time when the nation is wrestling with political correctness or wrongness…Williams’ candor about the law and her life is refreshing… The Alchemy of Race and Rights brings jurisprudence to the people while leaving no doubt that the author is among the finest legal talents among us.—Evelyn C. White, The San Francisco Chronicle

This is a work where style and substance are deeply connected… Writers of feminist jurisprudence first pushed the door open wide some fifteen years ago, and many scholars of color have walked through. Williams’ work is among the best, and the most respected, in this tradition… There is passion in these essays, and there is rage, clarity, confusion, intelligence and tenderness. This is more than the alchemy of race and rights. This is the magic and complexity of life.—Judy Scales-Trent, Women’s Review of Books

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap, by Mehrsa Baradaran, from Harvard University Press

Book Club Spotlight: The Color of Money

The Vivian’s Door Initiative is inspired by the courage and legacy of the late Vivian Malone Jones. She was the first African American to graduate from the University of Alabama and was responsible for ending the segregation of public universities in the state of Alabama. Vivian’s courage and will power to create change for her brothers and sisters of color inspired the creation of a nonprofit project called Vivian’s Door. In March 2020, Vivian’s Door started a book club; their first pick was The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran. In June, over 50 people joined the online discussion of the book