Mark One or More

Civil Rights in Multiracial America
Kim M. Williams
The little-known story of the struggle to include a multiracial category on the U.S. census, and the profound changes it wrought in the American political landscape


Mark One or More tells the little-known story of the struggle to include a multiracial category on the U.S. census, and the profound changes it wrought in the American political landscape.

The movement to add a multiracial category to the 2000 U.S. Census provoked unprecedented debates about race. The effort made for strange bedfellows. Republicans like House Speaker Newt Gingrich and affirmative action opponent Ward Connerly took up the multiracial cause. Civil rights leaders opposed the movement on the premise that it had the potential to dilute the census count of traditional minority groups. The activists themselves—a loose confederation of organizations, many led by the white mothers of interracial children—wanted recognition. What they got was the transformation of racial politics in America.

Mark One or More is the compelling account of how this small movement sparked a big change, and a moving call to reassess the meaning of racial identity in American life.

Cover photographs ©

Kim M. Williams is Associate Professor of Public Policy in Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and an expert in racial and ethnic politics and political movements.

Praise / Awards

  • "This is a smart, sensitive and brave book on a topic—multiracialism—about which many dumb, insensitive, and cowardly things have been said. Williams deepens our empirical understanding of the topic through her research and our normative appreciation for the complexities of the matter through her wise and insightful commentary. An altogether welcome addition to America's ongoing conversation about race."
    —Doug McAdam, Stanford University

  • "If more and more people identify as multiracial in coming decades, analysts will turn to this book in order to understand what they are seeing. If multiracialism doesn't catch on, this will remain a fascinating and innovative book on an intriguing feature of the US's tortured racial history."
    —Jennifer Hochschild, Harvard University

  • "This is a smart book; also a courageous one. Many have noted that the multiple-race option adopted in the 2000 Census was a turning point in the interplay of race statistics and public policy, and one not welcomed by civil rights advocates. Kim Williams, documenting the political and demographic realities behind this change, now steps forward to argue why those realities must be embraced by those committed to a vibrant civil rights agenda."
    —Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs, Columbia University and former Director of the U.S. Census Bureau

  • "Mark One or More: Civil Rights in Multiracial America greatly advances our knowledge about the multiracial movement and its significance for civil rights thought and advocacy in the twenty-first century. Williams persuasively argues that the established civil rights leadership can and must constructively engage the idea of multiracialism and not view it as a certain setback to civil rights."
    —Melissa Nobles, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • "This is a brilliant and provocative examination of the politics surrounding the multiracial movement and where it fits in the ideological divides in American politics."
    —Paula McClain, Duke University

Look Inside

Copyright © 2006, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

News, Reviews, Interviews

Williams interview

Listen: Interview on Eight Forty-Eight on Chicago Public Radio

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 208pp.
  • 11 Tables & 8 Figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2008
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03280-8

Add to Cart
  • $27.95 U.S.

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