Michael Eric Dyson: America's Unfinished Race Conversation
According to celebrated author and sociologist Michael Eric Dyson, 1963 was a defining year for the civil rights movement in the United States—universities in the South were integrated, four young girls were killed in a church bombing, and a quarter of a million Americans marched on Washington to hear Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. That same year, Attorney General Robert Kennedy sought out cultural leaders like James Baldwin, playwright Lorraine Hansberry, psychologist Kenneth Clark and activist Jerome Smith to explain the rage that threatened to engulf America. According to Dyson, every fundamental argument about race in America was heard in that room.
Fifty-five years after this historic year, the tense intersection of conflict between conscience and politics—between morality and power—in addressing race continues on with Black Lives Matter. In his new book What Truth Sounds Like, Michael Eric Dyson confronts a difficult situation directly: whether we embrace political resolution or moral redemption to fix our fractured racial landscape in this country. Dyson believes the future of race—and of democracy itself—hangs in the balance.
Michael Eric Dyson is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times and professor of sociology at Georgetown University. He has authored numerous books on black culture and both the history and future of race relations in the United States.
This program is sold out; you can add your name to the waitlist below.
Our community book partner for this event is Marcus Books, offering books by and about black people everywhere, since 1960.
Photo by Nina Subin
The Commonwealth Club
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, 94105