We are the leaders we have been looking for

Eddie S. Glaude, 1968-

Book - 2024

"Based on the Du Bois Lectures delivered at Harvard in 2011, We Are the Leaders We Have Been Looking For argues for the importance of self-cultivation in pursuit of justice as a critical feature of Black politics, what Eddie S. Glaude Jr. calls Black democratic perfectionism. Building on the political scientist Adolph Reed's work on 'Black custodial politics' Glaude critiques our impulse to outsource political needs to a professional class of politicians that purportedly represent us. Instead, he affirms the capacities of ordinary people to cultivate a better self and a better world by locating the prophetic and the heroic not in the pulpit but in the pew"--

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2nd Floor New Shelf 323.042/Glaude (NEW SHELF) Due Jun 19, 2024
Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press 2024.
Main Author
Eddie S. Glaude, 1968- (author)
Physical Description
168 pages ; 22 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • A Story
  • Looking Back
  • On Prophecy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • On Heroism and Malcom X
  • On Democracy and Ella Baker
  • A Thicket of Thorns.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A Princeton professor of African American studies examines "Black democratic perfectionism" and its significance to the ongoing political struggle. Glaude, the author of Begin Again and Democracy in Black, first presented this work at the 2011 Harvard W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture Series. Though he had initially intended them as musings on how the Obama presidency had affected "the form and content of Black political struggle," when revisiting the essays a decade later, he realized that the ideas they expressed had become even more germane in the aftermath of the Trump administration, the pandemic, and the concomitant resurgence of racism and xenophobia. His first essay explores "the role of the prophetic and the heroic in African American democratic life," examining the work of Martin Luther King Jr. within a framework that also includes pragmatist John Dewey. King was no savior, writes the author. Rather, he was a flawed human who followed the stirrings of a powerful moral imagination and acted on ideals that had no guarantee of succeeding in the real world. In the second essay, Glaude turns his attention to Malcolm X. Using the Emersonian idea that society should limit its reliance on heroes, the author suggests that Malcolm X was a "wounded, vulnerable Black man" fighting within a collective for liberation rather than a "shining black prince." The author concludes with an exploration of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organizer Ella Baker's beliefs about leadership. Far from being magical or mythical, the power to enact change is a grassroots phenomenon that comes from individuals becoming "problem-solving agents" and acting collectively as servants of justice. Though they speak directly to tendencies within the ongoing Black political struggle, the wisdom these important essays offer about the true nature of democratic action is equally relevant to all Americans seeking to rebuild a ravaged democracy and its broken institutions. A powerfully eloquent, concise book. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.