I spent much of the weekend still feeling puny and reading our upcoming Perry Wallace biography for work. I’m really proud to be working on this book, but man, it’s a hard read. It goes pretty much exactly how you expect it to go, except with Wallace pointing out every step of the way what’s going wrong and why and Vanderbilt turning a blind eye.
I’m wondering if there’s a way to pitch it to Civil Rights classes, if only because it’s really interesting to see a guy on the ground in the late ’60s who’s heard first-hand King and Carmichael trying to take what he finds useful from both approaches and crafting some way that works for him. At least in the history classes I took, it was more set up like an either-or choice. You went Martin or Malcolm. But, of course, living through it, you must have gone both at one point or another. It’s just the human response.
But I came away feeling like I wasn’t sure how Vanderbilt could ever reckon with this history. What would a resolution to “we fucked up” really look like? I admit, I was both glad to see that Vanderbilt has been making amends and feeling like those amends just don’t cut it. And I think that’s the truth of the matter, and I’m not sure there’s any way to reconcile that truth.