One important learning I gained from this book was that, in some respects, many African-Americans had more freedom before desegregation than the time just after desegregation.
Desegregation created a backlash that presented more barriers to freedom in their daily lives. While they gained freedom "on paper," this backlash made it more difficult for them to own and operate businesses and go about their daily lives in the way that desegregation promised.
While we've made progress in that respect, we are still integrating the races today. There is still racism, there are still people who think that mixed-race marriages are wrong, and there are still people who believe that whites are superior intellectually.
My take on the question is that, Having Our Say provides a point-in-time reference to the emotional views of race relations from which we can evaluate progress to date. It also provides specific examples of how those views made it possible or impossible for African-Americans to live equally with whites in the United States during specific historical times to present.