Memoir of a Race Traitor: Fighting Racism in the American South

Mab Segrest (Author)


Back in print after more than a decade, the singular chronicle of life at the forefront of antiracist activism, with a new introduction and afterword by the author

"Mab Segrest's book is extraordinary. It is a 'political memoir' but its language is poetic and its tone passionate. I started it with caution and finished it with awe and pleasure." --Howard Zinn

In 1994, Mab Segrest first explained how she "had become a woman haunted by the dead." Against a backdrop of nine generations of her family's history, Segrest explored her experiences in the 1980s as a white lesbian organizing against a virulent far-right movement in North Carolina.

Memoir of a Race Traitor became a classic text of white antiracist practice. bell hooks called it a "courageous and daring [example of] the reality that political solidarity, forged in struggle, can exist across differences." Adrienne Rich wrote that it was "a unique document and thoroughly fascinating." Juxtaposing childhood memories with contemporary events, Segrest described her journey into the heart of her culture, finally veering from its trajectory of violence toward hope and renewal. Now, amid our current national crisis driven by an increasingly apocalyptic white supremacist movement, Segrest returns with an updated edition of her classic book. With a new introduction and afterword that explore what has transpired with the far right since its publication, the book brings us into the age of Trump--and to what can and must be done.

Called "a true delight" and a "must-read" (Minnesota Review), Memoir of a Race Traitor is an inspiring and politically potent book. With brand-new power and relevance in 2019, this is a book that far transcends its genre.

Product Details

$17.99  $16.55
New Press
Publish Date
September 24, 2019
5.4 X 1.1 X 8.4 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Mab Segrest is professor emeritus of gender and women's studies at Connecticut College and the author of Administrations of Lunacy and Memoir of a Race Traitor (both from The New Press). A longtime activist in social justice movements and a past fellow at the National Humanities Center, she lives in Durham, North Carolina.


Praise for Memoir of a Race Traitor
"In the shadow of increasing worldwide white nationalism and hyperpredatory capitalism, Segrest's reflections are exceptionally chilling, fresh, and urgent. A passionate, lucid, and necessary memoir, then and now."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Courageous and daring, this work testifies/documents the reality that political solidarity, forged in struggle, can exist across differences."
--bell hooks

"None of this book is predictable. It's woven tightly on the loom of history, especially that of activists--African Americans, feminists, Jews, gay men and lesbians--who emerged in the 1970s and now find themselves building alliances against the new movements toward fascism. Mab Segrest's personal and political journeys are her starting-point, but she calls up a wider screen. Her book gives human faces to political behavior, and some fresh meanings to the term 'family values.' It's a unique document and thoroughly fascinating."
--Adrienne Rich

"Segrest avoids the pitfalls of mere rhetoric, short-circuiting the politics of white guilt with ruthless self-examination."
--Out magazine