Cornell West — The Blues man

I attended the Cornell West Tresolini Lecture on April 7th at Baker Hall. It was quite a memorable experience to see a prominent thinker such as Brother West in person, after having read and reflected his work in Citizen and the City. His presentation style, although I expected a speech in the Southern Baptist preacher style, was certainly impactful. I have never personally experienced the kind of energy Cornell West exuded, so I let the smile stay on my face for the first 2 minutes as he began to thank his peers. When reading his work, I I connected with West’s focus on understanding history in order to guide best action moving forward. I’m glad he continued with this practice in his talk. Brother West taught of the tradition of Black Americans in the fight for justice, freedom and equality. This conversation is important for everyone because there is such a need for racially-centered discussions in our communities and putting peoples’ struggles in historical context may help more people join the dialogue and take action, while providing confidence to activists or activists in-training who may be overwhelmed or think change is not possible. West certainly has a keen eye on our generation’s unique challenges. Although he might not have too much localized knowledge of the issues at Lehigh and in Bethlehem, he certainly helped bring this community’s fight for justice into a national historical perspective.

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