Racism in American public life A call to action

Johnnetta B. Cole

Book - 2021

"Racism in American Public Life: A Call to Action is part of The Malcolm Lester Phi Beta Kappa Lectures on Liberal Arts and Public Life. Cole examines the influence of race and racism on education, particularly the liberal arts, and the wider implication for American society specifically looking at three groups: first, further marginalized groups within Black communities, such as poor and/or queer people; secondly, institutions of higher education in leading conversations on race and racism...; and thirdly, how racist forces impact higher education making it a site for transformation and action"--

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 379.26/Cole Checked In
The Malcolm Lester Phi Beta Kappa lectures on liberal arts and public life
Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press 2021.
Physical Description
xv, 131 pages ; 21 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
Main Author
Johnnetta B. Cole (author)
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Three lectures on racism in America and the role of a liberal arts education in challenging it. In 2019, prominent anthropologist and educator Cole, president of the National Council of Negro Women, delivered the Malcolm Lester Phi Beta Kappa Lectures on the Liberal Arts and Public Life at Mercer University. As professor David A. Davis notes in the foreword, Cole "offers a vision for how liberal arts institutions can address racism and be vehicles for change….Dr. Cole's lectures look back on her own experiences with racism since her childhood in segregated Jacksonville, Florida, and she explains how racism still affects public life in this country." She brings a highly knowledgeable historical and personal perspective and context to these issues, showing how deeply racism is embedded in the DNA of America and urging an engagement in the "courageous conversations" required to heal the many divisions that plague the nation. The adaptation of Cole's incisive lectures into a book faces a couple of challenges. Because these were stand-alone lectures on interrelated issues, there are points that seem repetitive and belabored (though no less accurate) over three successive chapters. The bigger problem is timing, as these lectures occurred a year before the pandemic lockdown, the death of George Floyd, and the home stretch of the chaotic 2020 presidential campaign--all of which altered and accelerated the national dialogue on race. Nonetheless, Cole demonstrates the impact of the length and depth of these festering national wounds, and the introduction and afterword (by Tikia K. Hamilton, an educator focused on diversity and race-related issues) do a decent job of creating a more contemporary frame for the lectures. Throughout, Cole's tone is measured and nuanced yet urgent. She ends the book by quoting Frederick Douglass, who famously said, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress." Cogent dissections of issues that require constant attention. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.