The bitterly tangled webs of race and housing in the postwar United States hardly suffer from a lack of scholarly attention. But Tracy K’Meyer’s To Live Peaceably Together delivers something truly new to the field: a lively examination of a predominantly white faith-based group – the Quaker-aligned American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – that took a unique and ultimately influential approach to cultivating wider acceptance of residential integration.
Built upon detailed stories of AFSC activists and the obstacles they encountered in their work in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Richmond, California, To Live Peaceably Together is an engaging and timely account of how the organization allied itself to a cause that demanded constant learning, reassessment, and self-critique. K’Meyer details the spiritual and humanist motivations behind the AFSC, its members’ shifting strategies as they came to better understand structural inequality, and how those strategies were eventually adopted by a variety of other groups. Her fine-grained investigation of the cultural ramifications of housing struggles provides a fresh look at the last seventy years of racial activism.