Eddie S. Glaude Jr. on James Baldwin, with Nicholas Boggs
Where: Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Ave.
212-817-7000 Price: Free
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James Baldwin grew disillusioned by the failure of the civil rights movement to force America to confront its lies about race. In our own moment, when that confrontation feels more urgently needed than ever, what can we learn from his struggle?
We live, according to Eddie S. Glaude Jr., in a moment when the struggles of Black Lives Matter and the attempt to achieve a new America have been challenged by the election of Donald Trump, a president whose victory represents yet another failure of America to face the lies it tells itself about race. From Charlottesville to the policies of child separation at the border, his administration turned its back on the promise of Obama’s presidency and refused to embrace a vision of the country shorn of the insidious belief that white people matter more than others.
We have been here before: For James Baldwin, these after times came in the wake of the civil rights movement, when a similar attempt to compel a national confrontation with the truth was answered with the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. In these years, spanning from the publication of The Fire Next Time in 1963 to that of No Name in the Street in 1972, Baldwin transformed into a more overtly political writer, a change that came at great professional and personal cost. But from that journey, Baldwin emerged with a sense of renewed purpose about the necessity of pushing forward in the face of disillusionment and despair.
Eddie S. Glaude Jr., the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton, is the author of Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, and In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America. His books on religion and philosophy include An Uncommon Faith: A Pragmatic Approach to the Study of African American Religion, African American Religion: A Very Short Introduction and Exodus! Religion, Race and Nation in Early 19th Century Black America, which was awarded the Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Book Prize. Glaude is a columnist for Time Magazine and a MSNBC contributor on programs such as Morning Joe and Deadline Whitehouse with Nicolle Wallace. He also regularly appears on Meet the Press on Sundays. Glaude hosts the podcast AAS 21, recorded at Princeton University in Stanhope Hall, the African American Studies department’s home.
Current Leon Levy Fellow Nicholas Boggs is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of English at New York University. He earned a BA from Yale and a PhD from Columbia University. He is co-editor of James Baldwin’s collaboration with French artist Yoran Cazac, Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood(2018). He received the 2019 Robert and Ina Caro Travel and Research Fellowship from the Biographer’s International Organization. His writing has appeared in the anthologies James Baldwin Now and The Cambridge Companion to James Baldwin. Boggs is working on a literary biography of James Baldwin, which will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Buy tickets/get more info now