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King keynote speaker delivers powerful message

By Marilyn Hernandez-Stopp '14 on January 27, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr. eventsEddie Glaude Jr. came to Colgate with such dynamism and force that it was no wonder he was chosen as the keynote speaker for the weeklong  celebration dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr.

The celebration opened with a dinner at Syracuse University last Saturday and continued with myriad workshops, speakers, events, and brown-bags on campus.

Each event held special significance in that they touched on not only King’s legacy, but the issues surrounding the civil rights movement that continue to exist today.

The National Abolition Hall of Fame also made an appearance at Colgate in the form of traveling panels that were displayed at Merrill House.

Glaude, professor of religion and chair of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University, definitely knew how to approach his audience Thursday afternoon at Love Auditorium.


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His lecture resembled more of a sermon than a traditional speech and was a masterful reflection on MLK’s own style of oration. He prompted his audience to “talk-back,” a method of interaction between the speaker and the listener.

Glaude pointed out that the mistake of our generation is to laud King as an example of true democracy achieved, when rather we should continue his legacy and strive for better.

“Dr. King’s dream reveals that we are still sleepwalking,” he said.

Glaude reminded us that the civil rights movement did not pertain to just the African-American population in the United States, but to the American population as a whole because it challenged the very fabric of our “democratic” freedom.

Yet, Glaude called for democratic change now. He called for leadership now. Glaude urged students, staff, and faculty to aspire for genuine democratic transformation and to “challenge what we are committed to fundamentally.”

At the end of the lecture, the audience was given the chance to ask questions.

Andrea Finley ’12, questioned whether or not he saw a place for academia in this movement for change, and Glaude used his own position in higher education as an example.

He affirmed that we need to ask ourselves, as he did, these difficult questions: “What am I doing, what are my skill-sets contributing? We just have to figure out how to [rise up] in light of our own unique skill-sets.”

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1 Comment



  • Linda Stopp said:

    Great article! I hope that all of us ask the questions of ourselves as Dr. Glaude suggested!