Dr. Eddie Glaude’s Keynote Address on Male Montgomery College Students of Color’s Knowledge and Success


Dr. Eddie Glaude’s Keynote Address to MC Community – Screenshot of zoom meeting

Montgomery College recently held a two-day virtual summit titled: The Green Book: A Critical Guide for Male Students of Color’s Knowledge and Success. The event focused on bringing information to male students of color in academia and featured events discussing some of the challenges faced by male students of color, and encouragement on overcoming them.

During this virtual event, Montgomery College was graced with a keynote address from Dr. Eddie Glaude. Born in Moss Point, Mississippi, Dr. Glaude is an erudite scholar. A man of many qualifications, he is not only a New York Times Bestselling Author but also holds the position of the Chairman of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Dr. Glaude also earned a Ph.D. in religion from Princeton, which showcases itself in his fiery keynote address.

Dr. Glaude began his talk with a focus on Critical Race Theory, a topic that has been at the forefront of American politics in the last year. The ability to command attention and dictate the flow of thought is a skill that is hard to acquire, but Dr. Glaude was able to perform. He relayed to the viewers the pessimism of Derrick Bell, one of the founders of Critical Race Theory as a system of analysis; specifically, regarding how racism is not simply a byproduct of the American system but is deeply entrenched in it. According to Bell, black people will never be treated as equals within American society, “…even those Herculian efforts we hail as successful will produce no more than temporary peaks of progress, short-lived victories that slide into irrelevance as racial patterns adapt in ways that maintain white dominance…”.

Despite such pessimism, Bell calls not to take this submissively but to use it as an act of defiance. Dr. Glaude built up from this point, calling to understand Bell’s argument and “move beyond the comforting beliefs that time and generosity of its people will solve America’s racial problem”, countering Bell’s pessimistic outlook but focusing on the building of a new age. In this light, Dr. Glaude emphasized how male students of color must not just succeed, but flourish. Flourishing comes from within, growing as a person. It is possible to succeed but not flourish, with students being “…too concerned with what others around them are thinking and saying…” experiencing a term called “soul murder”.

James Baldwin, an American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and activist, was frequently invoked throughout the address. His sayings served as guideposts for the topic of the keynote. Coupling the words of Baldwin with his own fire-and-brimstone-esque manner of speaking, Dr. Glaude called for minority students to not believe the derogatory assumptions made about them in order to flourish. Male students of color should not quiet themselves, they should refuse to accept what people dictate them to be. All of this is for the sake of flourishing. They must “…muster up the courage and step off the porch, into the world as it were.”

Dr. Glaude continued to build off James Baldwin’s words and concluded that male students of color must refuse to believe what the country believes about them. “The problem isn’t us; it has never been us. It has always been this view that some people, because of the color of their skin, ought to be valued more than us.” Paraphrasing his own words, they must take giant steps in a world that conspires to make them small. He concludes his address by calling male students of color to “Flourish, fly, and go out the yard”.

Dr. Glaude presented such a powerful and inspiring keynote address, with the hope that male students of color will remember this address. As evidenced in his Questions & Aanswers and closing notes, this topic is very important to him. His fiery speech and heartfelt words were surely heard by those in attendance of this address.