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Princeton educator Eddie Glaude Jr. to deliver keynote address at community event celebrating life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dec. 16, 2022, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., an author and Princeton University educator, will provide the keynote address during West Michigan’s commemoration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Glaude’s address is part of the 37th annual community commemoration, a partnership between Davenport University, Grand Rapids Community College, and Grand Valley State University, with support from local sponsors.

“It’s so important to keep Dr. King’s message and legacy in mind as we navigate our difficult times,” GRCC Interim President Juan R. Olivarez said. “Each year we gather to celebrate his life and achievements. But also, we must look at where we are as a community and a nation, reflect on where we need to be and commit to getting there together.”

The 2023 keynote is planned for 6 p.m. Jan. 16 at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain Street NE in Grand Rapids. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5 p.m.

“Our nation continues to struggle to embrace equity across so many aspects of our lives,” said Dr. Richard J. Pappas, president of Davenport University. “I am thankful for the collaboration with GRCC and GVSU to hold this important event. We’re gathering to commemorate Dr. King’s life and further an important discussion on how to embrace diversity and inclusion across our campuses, our communities, and our world.”

The event will also introduce area high school scholarship recipients and include short welcomes from college presidents and community leaders.

“As we pause to reflect on Dr. King’s life and the indelible impact he had on history, I hope our students and community members continue to take up the charge for educational access and social justice,” GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella said. “It can be a daunting task, but let’s remember what Dr. King himself said, ‘If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.’”

Glaude is an author, political commentator, public intellectual and passionate educator who examines the complex dynamics of the American experience.

Combining a scholar’s knowledge of history, a political commentator’s take on the latest events, and an activist’s passion for social justice, Glaude challenges all of us to examine our collective American conscience, "not to posit the greatness of America, but to establish the ground upon which to imagine the country anew."

His writings, including “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul,” “In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America,” and his most recent, the New York Times bestseller, “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for our Own.”

Glaude is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton. He is also on the Morehouse College board of trustees.

He frequently appears in the media, as a columnist for TIME Magazine and as contributor on “Meet the Press” and on MSNBC programs.

Glaude also hosts Princeton’s AAS podcast, a conversation around the field of African American Studies and the Black experience in the 21st century.

He also is a former president of the American Academy of Religion.

Community sponsors for the event include: Corewell Health, Bethany Christian Services, Consumers Energy, Foster Swift, Warner Norcross and Judd, and the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.