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Publisher's Summary

"On the Other Side of Freedom reveals the mind and motivations of a young man who has risen to the fore of millennial activism through study, discipline, and conviction. His belief in a world that can be made better, one act at a time, powers his narratives and opens up a view on the costs, consequences, and rewards of leading a movement." (Henry Louis Gates, Jr.)

From the internationally recognized civil rights activist/organizer and host of the podcast Pod Save the People, a meditation on resistance, justice, and freedom, and an intimate portrait of a movement from the front lines.

In August of 2014, 29-year-old activist DeRay Mckesson stood with hundreds of others on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to push a message of justice and accountability. These protests, and others like them in cities across the country, resulted in the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, in his first book, Mckesson lays down the intellectual, pragmatic political framework for a new liberation movement. Continuing a conversation about activism, resistance, and justice that embraces our nation's complex history, he dissects how deliberate oppression persists, how racial injustice strips our lives of promise, and how technology has added a new dimension to mass action and social change. He argues that our best efforts to combat injustice have been stunted by the belief that racism's wounds are history, and suggests that intellectual purity has curtailed optimistic realism. The book offers a new framework and language for understanding the nature of oppression. With it, we can begin charting a course to dismantle the obvious and subtle structures that limit freedom. 

Honest, courageous, and imaginative, On the Other Side of Freedom is a work brimming with hope. Drawing from his own experiences as an activist, organizer, educator, and public official, Mckesson exhorts all Americans to work to dismantle the legacy of racism and to imagine the best of what is possible. Honoring the voices of a new generation of activists, On the Other Side of Freedom is a visionary's call to take responsibility for imagining, and then building, the world we want to live in.

©2018 DeRay Mckesson (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Pleasantly Surprised

In the beginning I wasn’t sure exactly what this book was going to cover. I’m fascinated by his background and how he became an activist but it didn’t seem like the first chapter or two really touched on it in detail. Other than getting in the car and driving to Ferguson, there wasn’t much pretext. Then the content starts getting good, REALLY good. He touches on a series of topics....abuse of police power, discord within the activist communities, homosexuality, and privilege. He’s an extremely intelligent man who discusses these topics with the utmost humility, and his passion for helping others is clear. Definitely recommend for those who are interested in learning more about him and BLM. The statistics that he shares alone had my jaw on the floor.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I am convinced times are changing...

DeRay McKesson's voice is unique and his story is compelling. His arguments are clear and ring true to me on so many levels. He (and his vest) are doing the heavy lifting. The group of protestors in this movement are a force to be reckoned with and have forever made an impression on me. I am grateful for people who do more than watch. He is a truly a leader and voice I'll continue to listen for.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sharp mind and great memoirs

Mckesson offers insight into the thoughts behind many modern protests. Additionally he explains his 'why' and epiphanies he's had along the way.

I heard him in an interview and was impressed by his reasoning and argument skills as well as his humility in not accepting founder-status in Ferguson, but instead rightfully giving credit to the 1000s on the ground.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Honest and Moving

DeRay McKesson's book is an amazing dialogue and honest unpacking of the narratives we among the privileged of society have easily dismissed or ignored. I found myself moved and engaged by every single line and note of DeRay's book. The truth in each point is so unapologetically direct that you can often find yourself uncomfortable. I do not think that discomfort is a bad thing, especially in the face of the case presented. It is an enlightening process to sit with that discomfort and force oneself to do more reflection and wake up. I think it makes oneself act, hopefully resulting in the betterment of oneself and others.
None of the truths in the book are new, this a discourse spoken by many. However, the way DeRay roots them in his narrative and his case for hope just makes it sink in a bit more than one might have already absorbed the data. It might be something simple like our shared existence on the orientation spectrum, or perhaps because I am drawn to DeRay's engagement through his podcast, his protest/movement action and communication, and his 'voice' in his book, that I felt like this was an intimate dialogue. I sincerely apologize to DeRay if my embracing of his narrative is presumptuous, derivative, or harmful by assuming more familiarity than I should.
Aside from the trust that I find in this book’s narrative, I strongly suggest EVERYONE to read or listen to it because it is extremely necessary for our movement together and forward. DeRay's way of communicating a point just seems to penetrate whatever barrier we might have over our 'ears'. Do not come to this book with ego. Come to this book willing to engage and have a truth given to you. Come to this book knowing you have the potential to walk away with something powerful, hope. Hope in its active form, requiring engagement not the passive ideal of faith, something that will make you do something to achieve that hope and have your hands in it.
Read this book. Even better, read this book AND listen to this book in audio form. I really really mean it, read this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring and worth a listen!

DeRay provides incredible stories, insights and poetry throughout - inspiring hope and sharing wisdom on grassroots organizing. It’s a treat that he narrates the full audiobook - giving the listener a chance to hear his words In his own voice. Highly recommend!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Important story

Well done. Quick listen and very important facts. I admire DeRay for his altruistic endeavors.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One Story, Many Truths

This is one of the most important books I've read in a long time, weaving together the intersections of justice in a hopeful narrative. I will return to this book many time in the weeks, months, and years ahead. You will too.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story and perspectives

This book explains the black experience when one dissents and protest in today’s time. DeRay shares his family history hardships and mindset to fight peacefully even it it meant being meet with great pain and fear by police or angry public.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring us toward reconciliation

DeRay is so brave. From tackling concepts like white privilege and police brutality to breaking down the steps to organize and contribute to change, this book takes us forward on philosophy but also inspires - even demands - drastic change.

DeRay also reveals his own story. Being jailed, sued, maligned not just for what he does, but who he is and how he was born, but yet, overcoming that. Finding his voice in challenging circumstances and helping all of us to find ours too. Thanks, DeRay!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book

Great book by Deray. He is a beacon of hope in these difficult times! Highly recommend!

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mercedes McLemore
  • ROSWELL, GA, US
  • 09-10-18

Pleasantly Surprised

In the beginning I wasn’t sure exactly what this book was going to cover. I’m fascinated by his background and how he became an activist but it didn’t seem like the first chapter or two really touched on it in detail. Other than getting in the car and driving to Ferguson, there wasn’t much pretext. Then the content starts getting good, REALLY good. He touches on a series of topics....abuse of police power, discord within the activist communities, homosexuality, and privilege. He’s an extremely intelligent man who discusses these topics with the utmost humility, and his passion for helping others is clear. Definitely recommend for those who are interested in learning more about him and BLM. The statistics that he shares alone had my jaw on the floor.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robin
  • 10-18-18

I am convinced times are changing...

DeRay McKesson's voice is unique and his story is compelling. His arguments are clear and ring true to me on so many levels. He (and his vest) are doing the heavy lifting. The group of protestors in this movement are a force to be reckoned with and have forever made an impression on me. I am grateful for people who do more than watch. He is a truly a leader and voice I'll continue to listen for.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J. Gudger
  • Washington, DC
  • 10-16-18

Sharp mind and great memoirs

Mckesson offers insight into the thoughts behind many modern protests. Additionally he explains his 'why' and epiphanies he's had along the way.

I heard him in an interview and was impressed by his reasoning and argument skills as well as his humility in not accepting founder-status in Ferguson, but instead rightfully giving credit to the 1000s on the ground.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • E A V N
  • 11-30-18

Honest and Moving

DeRay McKesson's book is an amazing dialogue and honest unpacking of the narratives we among the privileged of society have easily dismissed or ignored. I found myself moved and engaged by every single line and note of DeRay's book. The truth in each point is so unapologetically direct that you can often find yourself uncomfortable. I do not think that discomfort is a bad thing, especially in the face of the case presented. It is an enlightening process to sit with that discomfort and force oneself to do more reflection and wake up. I think it makes oneself act, hopefully resulting in the betterment of oneself and others.
None of the truths in the book are new, this a discourse spoken by many. However, the way DeRay roots them in his narrative and his case for hope just makes it sink in a bit more than one might have already absorbed the data. It might be something simple like our shared existence on the orientation spectrum, or perhaps because I am drawn to DeRay's engagement through his podcast, his protest/movement action and communication, and his 'voice' in his book, that I felt like this was an intimate dialogue. I sincerely apologize to DeRay if my embracing of his narrative is presumptuous, derivative, or harmful by assuming more familiarity than I should.
Aside from the trust that I find in this book’s narrative, I strongly suggest EVERYONE to read or listen to it because it is extremely necessary for our movement together and forward. DeRay's way of communicating a point just seems to penetrate whatever barrier we might have over our 'ears'. Do not come to this book with ego. Come to this book willing to engage and have a truth given to you. Come to this book knowing you have the potential to walk away with something powerful, hope. Hope in its active form, requiring engagement not the passive ideal of faith, something that will make you do something to achieve that hope and have your hands in it.
Read this book. Even better, read this book AND listen to this book in audio form. I really really mean it, read this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 10-28-18

Inspiring and worth a listen!

DeRay provides incredible stories, insights and poetry throughout - inspiring hope and sharing wisdom on grassroots organizing. It’s a treat that he narrates the full audiobook - giving the listener a chance to hear his words In his own voice. Highly recommend!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • B. J. Dzomba
  • sinking spring
  • 09-20-18

Important story

Well done. Quick listen and very important facts. I admire DeRay for his altruistic endeavors.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jamie Arpin-Ricci
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • 09-20-18

One Story, Many Truths

This is one of the most important books I've read in a long time, weaving together the intersections of justice in a hopeful narrative. I will return to this book many time in the weeks, months, and years ahead. You will too.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dennis
  • 09-20-18

Great story and perspectives

This book explains the black experience when one dissents and protest in today’s time. DeRay shares his family history hardships and mindset to fight peacefully even it it meant being meet with great pain and fear by police or angry public.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dan Price
  • 09-18-18

Inspiring us toward reconciliation

DeRay is so brave. From tackling concepts like white privilege and police brutality to breaking down the steps to organize and contribute to change, this book takes us forward on philosophy but also inspires - even demands - drastic change.

DeRay also reveals his own story. Being jailed, sued, maligned not just for what he does, but who he is and how he was born, but yet, overcoming that. Finding his voice in challenging circumstances and helping all of us to find ours too. Thanks, DeRay!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Peter Frampton
  • CHATTANOOGA, TN, United States
  • 09-17-18

Excellent book

Great book by Deray. He is a beacon of hope in these difficult times! Highly recommend!