Eddie Glaude on his timely book about James Baldwin, Racism, and the Betrayal of the Civil Rights Movement

Eddie Glaude is the chair of Princeton University’s African American Studies program and is a regular fixture on the set of “Morning Joe.” Eddie has written several books over the years, such as "Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul," and "In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America.”

Eddie’s latest book is “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Our Own."

Glaude wrote this book before George Floyd was killed on Memorial Day this year. But the book — a passionate, grief-stricken account of a Black historian’s attempt to make sense of our times and to find a way forward — could not be more timely.

“Part of the reason why I wrote the book is that I was grappling with my own despair and disillusionment” after the election of Donald Trump, said Glaude. “How I came out of the other side of that despair was a kind of insistence on bearing witness, on telling the truth about who we are, laying bare the consequences of our monstrous actions over time and over our history."

To begin again, he writes, is to “reexamine the fundamental values and commitments that shape our self-understanding, and ... look back to those beginnings not to reaffirm our greatness or to double down on myths that secure our innocence, but to see where we went wrong and how we might imagine or recreate ourselves in light of who we initially set out to be.”

“Baldwin called the nation, in his after times, to confront the lie of its own self-understanding and to get about the work of building a country truly based on democratic principles,” Glaude writes.

You might not agree with everything Eddie says, but I think if you read this book, it’s almost impossible not to be enriched and challenged in a very productive way. 

Outro music: "Bloody Waters" from the Black Panther Soundtrack

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