Thursday, September 22, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture - Douglas Blackmon

In his book 'Slavery By Another Name,' author Douglas Blackmon highlights a system of de facto slavery that lasted in the United States long after abolition--in some cases, well into the 1940s. In Alabama alone, an estimated 200,000 blacks were forced to work as servants or in coal mines and lumber yards. Tens of thousands of African-American men were routinely arrested on trivial charges and misdemeanors, fined outrageously and then ‘sold’ to corporations to work off their fines. In the early 1930s (the Daily Beast)
Pulitzer Prize winner Douglas Blackmon explored the impact that Vanderbilt students can have on society when he delivered the 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture Tuesday evening.

Blackmon introduced himself to the crowd inside Vanderbilt University Law School's Flynn Auditorium with light remarks before delving into his talk. Initially speaking on the similarities between Barack Obama and Martin Luther King, Blackmon led the audience to consider what he described as "the terrific dilemma of the past" - the nation's history of problematic race relations.

While Blackmon reviewed some of the highlights of his book, he also commented on the potential he saw in Vanderbilt students.

“Today, talking to students on campus from the (Black Student Alliance) and other student organizations, reminded me of the young, earnest, hungry minds that exist," he said. "Only though this can we learn the lessons of the past and remember what to take with us and leave behind.” (source: Inside Vandy)

2010 Vanderbilt University Law School Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture - Douglas Blackmon

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