On Wednesday, Cary Academy, in partnership with Durham Academy, proudly welcomed acclaimed scholar Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr. as part of its Upper School Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observance.
In an inspiring and thought-provoking keynote address “Lessons from the Later Dr. King,” Dr. Glaude offered a complex and nuanced representation of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and work, ultimately issuing a call to action for us all to strive towards creating the Beloved Community– a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one’s fellow human beings – that King envisioned.
Glaude argues that, for most Americans, the image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is frozen in time. We easily think of him as the leader of the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott or as the passionate preacher delivering “I Have a Dream” in 1963. Dr. Glaude, however, offered students a look at another facet of the MLK story: Dr. King’s later and final years — when he was doubtful and felt that the country had turned its back on him.
Five years after “I Have a Dream,” King was grappling with despair and disillusionment over the country’s direction — a sentiment he shared with James Baldwin, one of the 20th century’s greatest writers and chroniclers of the Black experience. When the two men met a few months before Dr. King’s murder, both were desperately trying to re-narrate the civil rights movement and change the consciousness of America.
Dr. Glaude examines this critical juncture in the life of Martin Luther King Jr., and what we all must do to make America live up to its promise. “We long for a Dr. King or an Abe Lincoln, because we don’t see our own capabilities as being sufficient,” Glaude has said. “History converged in a way that called Dr. King forward, and he answered the call. That can happen with anybody. We don’t need another Martin Luther King. We need everyday, ordinary people. We are the leaders we’ve been looking for.”
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. His most well-known books, Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, and In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America, take a wide look at black communities, the difficulties of race in the United States, and the challenges our democracy face. His most recent book, Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, was released in June 2020. Glaude holds a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College, a master’s degree in African American Studies from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University. He is a columnist for Time Magazine, an MSNBC contributor, and regularly appears on Meet the Press.
This event was co-hosted by Cary Academy’s Director of Equity and Community Engagement, Danielle Johnson-Webb and Durham Academy’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Engagement, Kemi Nonez, and sponsored by Cary Academy’s PTAA.