I’ve posted a number of recordings of interviews and talks I’ve given on Uniting Mississippi. This talk is on my next project, which is still in progress. The book is titled A Culture of Justice. One of the chapters that is in progress is the subject of the talk I gave at Purdue University. Here’s the video, about 1hr 28 mins:
Now that I’m finally catching up with my grant reporting obligations, I’m returning to work from October of 2015. We snagged some nice pictures of Judge Reeves while he was here and we recorded the video of the open forum discussion we held. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves of Mississippi’s southern district caught my attention in particular with the speech he delivered at the sentencing case of a racially motivated murder in Jackson, MS. NPR called his speech “breathtaking,” and it certainly is.
When I read it I was so moved that after a period of absorbing his deeply thoughtful remarks, I felt compelled to write to him and tell him how much what he said meant to me and to Mississippi. On a whim, I ventured to invite him, were he willing and ever able, to come talk with one of my classes, particularly on the Philosophy of Leadership. He got back to me the same day to say that he would be delighted to come. That’s the kind of guy this now famous judge is. [Video is at the bottom of this post]
Here’s the bio on Judge Reeves that NPR put together after his speech had garnered over a million downloads. It was a profound honor to have Judge Reeves meet with my students and me for lunch, my class soon after, and then the campus and Oxford community members who came to hear and speak with him. Judge Reeves is also famous and to some controversial for his judgments on prayer in school and on same-sex marriage. Progressive Mississippians came to meet the judge to thank him for his leadership and several called him a hero to them. Judge Reeves explained at our lunch and to my class that when he was growing up, his moral heroes in Mississippi were federal judges.
The interesting thing about Judge Reeves’s position is that people think that judges must not be activists. Does that mean that they should not really speak up much on public issues? Judge Reeves thinks that they should. A judge should not be prejudiced in making his or her judgment on a particular case, but may, and Reeves argues should, voice their concerns about larger social issues and movements. I asked Judge Reeves whether he had been criticized for delivering the speech that he did at the sentencing for the murder of James Craig Anderson. Judge Reeves said just the opposite happened. If anything, people had issued threats because he upheld the Constitutional prohibition on governmental establishment of religion in public schools. For speaking up as he had, he explained, he had only received very positive feedback.
A judge holds a complex and interesting kind of leadership position, which is why I was eager to hear Judge Reeves talk about “Race and Moral Leadership in the U.S. Judicial System.” I certainly gained a great deal from his visit, and I welcome you to watch this video of the forum we held with Judge Reeves. Here it is:
I had a great time at the University of Southern Mississippi on Friday, January 29th. After a fun interview on WDAM TV in Hattiesburg, MS, I headed over to the new Liberal Arts Building on campus, which is beautiful.
Dr. Sam Bruton in the Philosophy and Religion department at USM organizes the Philosophical Fridays program, which runs in part with the general support from the Mississippi Humanities Council. I’m grateful to Dr. Bruton, to the department of Philosophy and Religion at USM, and to the MS Humanities Council for the chance to present in Hattiesburg and the permission to post the video of my talk here. The video was first posted here on the USM library Web site.
I had a delightful time in Hattiesburg, MS this January. My first stop while in town was at WDAM TV’s studio for the Midday News on Channel 7. I had the great pleasure of talking with Miranda Beard, who invited me to tell people about Uniting Mississippi and who announced my talk at the University of Southern Mississippi later that day, as well as the book signing afterwards. Miranda is a very impressive news professional and was very kind and welcoming.
The people at WDAM were very kind. The studio was easy to find, and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to drive. I will say that Mississippi’s actually quite a big state. I had to get up at 5 and be on the road at 7 to get to Hattiesburg by shortly after 11 for this interview. It was well worth it. One of the members of the audience at my 2pm talk said that she saw me on WDAM and that she had read my interview in the Clarion Ledger earlier in January.
Here’s the interview:
Thank you to Miranda and to Margaret Ann Morgan, who set this up!
I’m looking forward to meeting the folks at WDAM in Hattiesburg, MS, on Friday, January 29th for an interview about Uniting Mississippi: Democracy and Leadership in the South. I’ll be on live at around noon. I’ll post a clip of the interview as soon after it as I can. That same day (Friday), I’ll next head to the University of Southern Mississippi, where Sam Bruton in the Philosophy department hosts “Philosophical Fridays.” Check out the sweet announcement poster they made:
If you’re in the area, come on by. I’m finalizing details about the book signing that’ll follow the talk.
The video clip of my interview on WLOX TV News at 4 in Biloxi, MS, is included at the bottom of this post. I had a great time visiting the coast, seeing the beautiful water, and talking with some really nice people.
I also had a great time meeting Jeremy from Bay Books for the book signing afterwards at the West Biloxi Public Library. While I was at the TV studio, I was able to snap these photos.
Here’s the interview video:
For more information, you can visit my page about the book here. If you are looking for a speaker for your group or think your community might enjoy a book talk and signing, visit my Contact page and drop me a note. Groups in Mississippi can apply for a mini grant from the MS Humanities Council, as they have a speakers’ series that features my talks on Uniting Mississippi.
As promised, I’m posting here below my interview on WLOV of Tupelo’s This Morning show with Katrina Berry. Also, below that is a photo of the nice layout that Reed’s Gumtree Bookstore setup for the book signing later that day.
Katrina was a lovely person who was kind and encouraging. As I said, she drove home the fact that on WLOV they like to support local authors. It was a great experience, and also featured the fastest turnaround I’ve experienced for getting a video of the broadcast. All around, great trip.
Oh, and here’s Reed’s Gumtree Bookstore’s nice setup before the book signing. Very nice people there too. They’ve got signed books from John Grisham, George Will, and many more. Great people.
If you know of TV or radio stations that would be interested in an interview about Uniting Mississippi, or groups looking for a speaker, contact me on Twitter, Facebook, or via my info on my Contact page.
Public Policy Leadership alumn Elliott Warren kindly sent me a link to this maiden address from Senator Ben Sasse, Junior Senator from Nebraska (R). It was an incredibly kind compliment for Elliott to say that this Senator’s speech reminded him of my classes here at the University of Mississippi. Senator Sasse calls for a renewal of the virtues of deliberation that the Senate is supposed to embody. He explicitly points to Socrates for insight, and to the methods of Socratic dialogue. He calls on his colleagues explicitly to avoid straw man fallacies and other errors of reasoning. It was the most elegant speech I have heard from a Senator in years.
The speech is 29 minutes long. You may not have that time right now. At some point, though, you will be glad that you watched Senator Sasse’s speech. I urge you all to find the time. Here’s his speech on C-SPAN.
At the Clinton School for Public Service, on Monday, October 19, 2015 at noon.
I am so grateful for two lovely introductions, one from Dean Skip Rutherford of the Clinton School and a former student of mine studying there, Rob Pillow. This video includes only the talk and Q&A. If I can get their intros, I’ll post them too. The Clinton School folks are excellent at what they do and were wonderful hosts. Here’s the video of my book talk:
You can find the video on the Clinton School’s speakers site here.
You need to watch this. William Flowers, a man from Georgia, came to a demonstration in Jackson, MS, as a leader in the effort to defend the Mississippi flag, which features an emblem of the Confederate Battle Flag. He leads the self-described southern nationalist group, League of the South.
This interview is not simply someone with a video camera. This is Mississippi Public Broadcasting interviewing a spokesman for the organized protest.
The man speaks of the cultural attack on southern heritage as a genocide. That is the language and strategy of the Ku Klux Klan. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I returned home from Germany this August to find a message on my answering machine from a Presidential candidate arguing for a fight against the genocide of the white race. This man refers to genocide of southerners, which is novel, at least to my experience.
The argument reminds me of a powerful cartoon by Clay Jones, on right, featuring an African American man carrying a shot child, grieving silently, next to a wailing southern white man carrying his Confederate Battle Flag, in a shape resembling the child on left.
When asked about secession, Flowers openly advocates for it. He is explicitly a secessionist, who then says that he’d prefer a political solution. That sounds like a threat to me.
If you ever needed a demonstration that the Confederate Battle Flag is divisive, this fellow made it crystal clear. He refers to heritage, then dismisses any relation to slavery. He’s unhinged. We have this stuff scanned and online now. Mississippi’s first statement explaining its causes for secession says that slavery was its fundamental cause.
If you’ve visited my site before, you know where I stand on this. If you haven’t check out:
- “Sometimes Heritage Does Harm,”
- “Racism Defies the ‘Greatest Commandment’,”
- “What a Flag Has to Do with Justice,” and
- “Governor, Take Down the Flag“
But seriously, watch this first:
It’s 7.5 minutes long, but you can get the most important stuff within the first 3 minutes.