Good Trouble: Celebrating the Legacy of John Lewis

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Good Trouble is presented by Dr. John Edgar Tidwell and Humanities Kansas. The late political activist and US congressman John Lewis coined the phrase “good trouble” to describe his civil disobedience in the 1960s. Others, who did not share his vision, considered his actions as merely “disturbing the peace.” Notwithstanding these conflicting perspectives, Lewis raises an interesting question: "What role have the humanities played in times of crisis, contentiousness, and incredible disagreement?" This talk will seek to answer this question by looking at selected works, such as Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Exposition speech, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Barack Obama’s consolation speeches to victims of gun violence at Sandy Hook and Charleston, and how they frame today’s perspectives and debates about racism. 

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