News at Princeton

Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014

Web Stories

Video: Eddie Glaude keynote speech excerpt


To view the multimedia features on this page, you will need to download the latest version of Flash Player and/or enable JavaScript.


Center for African American Studies chair Eddie Glaude gave one of three keynote speeches at Princeton's "Coming Back and Moving Forward" black alumni conference, which took place Oct. 22-24. Glaude's lecture, "America Looks Back: How Will We Move Forward?" called on the audience to re-examine how the past affects the present. Read more.


Video Closed Captions

Eddie Glaude:
America, they might say, has never been bound by the past.

Eddie Glaude:
We have no feudal beginnings to worry about.

Eddie Glaude:
We just have uncharted frontier. No one's there. Right. (laughter)

Eddie Glaude:
It is a nation predicated on an open-ended future.

Eddie Glaude:
We have no need, they might argue, to be concerned about the problems of the past.

Eddie Glaude:
Obama's election announces that we have removed the burdens of old,

Eddie Glaude:
only to embrace with unbridled enthusiasm the possibilities of now and of the future.

Eddie Glaude:
Each of these approaches should sound familiar,

Eddie Glaude:
because they have provided in one way or another a framework for our national history as it is.

Eddie Glaude:
But the underlying challenge here, what makes this effort so charged with the emotion of uncertainty,

Eddie Glaude:
is that this man, this particular body,

Eddie Glaude:
brings into view those experiences of a people who have called into question the very premises of the story

Eddie Glaude:
we have told our ourselves as a nation in the first place.

Eddie Glaude:
Y'all didn't hear that.

Eddie Glaude:
Shall I say it again? Okay, I'll say it again.

Eddie Glaude:
The underlying challenge here, what makes this effort so charged with the emotion of uncertainty,

Eddie Glaude:
is that this man, this particular body, brings into view those experiences of a people who have called into question

Eddie Glaude:
the very premises of the story we have told our ourselves as a nation.

Eddie Glaude:
For Obama to be the occasion to return to the archive demands, at least to me,

Eddie Glaude:
an encounter that can only result in a deep and profound national shudder

Eddie Glaude:
or, as we've seen,

Eddie Glaude:
an evasion of serious matters and a retreat into adolescence.

Back To Top