What it Means to be an American

“Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed.”

That’s from Langston Hughes’s poem, “Let America Be America Again.”

MPR News Host Kerri Miller asked intellectuals, artists and musicians and activists to speak about what it means to be an American. Professor Eddic Glaude participated in the series.

Every conversation in the series kicked off with this iconic line, and expanded in new directions.

 

“There’s something about the South that is so fundamentally American. Right? That the soil is soaked with the blood of our contradiction. That the region is haunted. And it’s haunted by its past and present. And so you have this amazing civility. The smile. Southern hospitality is real. Once you cross over into my home state people are smiling.”

“I went to Bozos, this wonderful seafood place, Kerri, when I was home for my homecoming recently. I usually go home to take my mama to the fair. And I came home a week early and I was going to get me this wonderful 12-inch seafood po’ boy. And I walk into this place, and this real grisly, stereotypical southern white man says, ‘Hey, don’t I see you on television?’ And I said yes. And he said, ‘Boy, you look as good in person as you do on television.’ And then he said, “I don’t agree with much of what you say, but keep saying it.” -Eddie Glaude Jr.

Glaude grew up in Mississippi. He is now a Professor of Religion at Princeton where he chairs the Department of African American Studies. His newest book is “Democracy in Black.”

A writer that influenced him: James Baldwin

 

 

More by this author

The Pulse of Black Life in the Long 19th Century
Rethinking Empire and Democracy
The Formation of ‘Religio-Racial’ Identity
What is African American Religion? 'Future of the African American Past' Panel

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  1. 'The Making of the Modern Black Diaspora' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Joshua Guild 35:17
  2. 'The Pulse of Black Life in the Long 19th Century' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Autumn Womack 30:42
  3. 'Rethinking Empire and Democracy' Reena N. Goldthree, Eddie S. Glaude Jr. 44:49
  4. 'The Formation of Religio-Racial Identity' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Judith Weisenfeld 47:32
  5. 'What Was African American Marriage?' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Tera Hunter 44:59
  6. 'Before Cornel West, After Cornel West' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Cornel West 52:46
  7. 'An Insistence on Not Being Discouraged' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Chika Okeke-Agulu 55:19
  8. 'A Through Line for African American Studies' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Imani Perry 44:07
  9. 'Activism and Risk in the Face of Trump' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Asanni York, Destiny Crockett 43:02
  10. 'Langston Hughes, Religious Thinker' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Wallace Best 45:50
  11. 'Convergences and Dissonance' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Keeanga-Yamahatta Taylor, Naomi Murakawa, & Imani Perry 60:08