Randall Kennedy

Cindy Seip

Randall Kennedy is the author of six previous books. He is the Michael R. Klein Professor at Harvard Law School, where he teaches courses on contracts, criminal law, and the regulation of race relations. He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia, the American Law Institute, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Say It Loud!: On Race, Law, History, and Culture (Pantheon) spans two decades of his writing. Its 29 essays include some previously published and others written for this occasion, with all exploring key social justice issues of our time. Informed by his sharp observations, decency, and wit, but also often courting controversy, Kennedy addresses subjects such as “The George Floyd Moment: Promise and Peril,” “Isabel Wilkerson, the Election of 2020, and Racial Caste,” “The Constitutional Roots of ‘Birtherism,’” “Remembering Thurgood Marshall,” and “The Politics of Black Respectability.” In each essay, Kennedy is mindful of complexity, ambivalence, and paradox, always stirring and enlightening. Commenting on Kennedy’s previous tome, The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency, The New York Times noted that “Kennedy has long been among the most incisive American commentators on race. His books seem to be carved from intellectual granite, yet they also have a human scale.”