Long Road to Hard Truth

  • by Robert Leon Wilkins
  • Narrated by Michael Canaan
  • 4 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In Long Road to Hard Truth: The 100 Year Mission to Create the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Robert L. Wilkins tells the story of how his curiosity about why there wasn't a national museum dedicated to African American history and culture became an obsession - eventually leading him to quit his job as an attorney when his wife was seven months pregnant with their second child, and make it his mission to help the museum become a reality.
Long Road to Hard Truth chronicles the early history, when staunch advocates sought to create a monument for black soldiers 50 years after the end of the Civil War and in response to the pervasive indignities of the time, including lynching, Jim Crow segregation, and the slander of the racist film Birth of a Nation. The movement soon evolved to envision creating a national museum, and Wilkins follows the endless obstacles through the decades, culminating in his honor of becoming a member of the Presidential Commission that wrote the plan for creating the museum and how, with support of both black and white Democrats and Republicans, Congress finally authorized the museum.
In September 2016, exactly 100 years after the movement to create it began, the Smithsonian will open the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The book's title is inspired in part by James Baldwin, who testified in Congress in 1968 that "My history...contains the truth about America. It is going to be hard to teach it." Long Road to Hard Truth concludes that this journey took 100 years because many in America are unwilling to confront the history of America's legacy of slavery and discrimination, and that the only reason this museum finally became a reality is that an unlikely, bipartisan coalition of political leaders had the courage and wisdom to declare that America could not, and should not, continue to evade the hard truth.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Historical Figures Brought to Life!

What did you love best about Long Road to Hard Truth?

I really enjoyed the narrator's impressions of the historical figures mentioned in the book. This really helped the story to come to life for me and it made the book extremely intriguing from a historical perspective. I enjoyed learning the history of the museum!


What did you like best about this story?

The attention to detail and the way the author put everything together. It was very easy to follow and his passion for the museum was apparent.


Have you listened to any of Michael Canaan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, I believe this is the third book I've listened to by Mr. Canaan. I like the smoothness of his voice and the way the words resonate. I've listened to books from other narrators in the past where it sounds like they are merely being read. When Mr. Canaan reads a book, it truly sounds like he believes in the work and he enjoys what he is reading, so it never sounds like he is sitting there reading to you. It sounds like he is telling a story. I believe this is a sign of an excellent narrator/voice artist.


Any additional comments?

I thought the narration was spot on, I couldn't ask for better. The quality is top of the line, I hope to hear more from Mr. Canaan very soon!

I thought the writing was excellent as well. I am saddened however to hear that the full history of African American Culture is not properly represented at the museum. The history of an entire people should be represented there, not just one political side or the other. That's neither here nor there though.

Overall, I do recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn more about African American history or this museum.

And definitely, go seek out other works by this narrator, he has such a nice voice!

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- Amber

A thorough and triumphant read!

As a history lover, I was very interested to read this work. As an Africana studies graduate, I didn't expect the depths at which I would learn something new.

This is a thorough account. At times the information can be overwhelming as ine accounted event after another are recalled. This story is so important to our understanding and celebration of this grand museum. You cannot fully appreciate, in my opinion, without this important backstory.
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- Taia D. Crews

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-14-2016
  • Publisher: Proud Legacy Publishing