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Great Lives Lecture- Martin Luther King Jr.

February 27 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Martin Luther King Jr.

Lecture Date: February 27, 2024

The John and Linda Coker Lecture

In hallowing Martin Luther King Jr., we have hollowed him. We have replaced his radical vision for justice with a romantic image of a man who stands for little more than love and peace. For the past seven years, Jonathan Eig has traveled across the country, meeting the people who knew King personally, recording their stories, and learning about the real MLK — the complicated one, the flawed one, the radical one, the one we really need in today’s bitter, divided world.

If we listen to the real King, he can still teach us: –Yes, it’s possible to be a radical and win the support of the mainstream and the political establishment. –A flawed man can live his by the high moral standards and devote himself to the common good. –It is possible to engage in dialogue (and even love) our enemies. –Income inequality is not a requirement of capitalism.

Though we live in an age cynicism, of division, King believed we would get to the Promised Land. If we listen to his words, if we embrace his message, and if we accept his contradictions, we might get there yet.

Speaker: Jonathan Eig

Jonathan Eig is the bestselling author of six books, including his most recent King: A Life, which The New York Times hailed as a “monumental” new biography of Martin Luther King Jr.

Jonathan’s previous book, Ali: A Life, won a 2018 PEN America Literary Award and was a finalist for the Mark Lynton History Prize. His works have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

He served as consulting producer for the PBS series “Muhammad Ali,” which was directed by Ken Burns. Esquire magazine named Ali: A Life one of the 25 greatest biographies of all time. Joyce Carol Oates called it “an epic of a biography” that “reads like a novel.”

Jonathan’s first book, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, reached No. 10 on the New York Times bestseller list and won the Casey Award. His books have been listed among the best of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal


February 27
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
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University of Mary Washington


Dodd Auditorium
George Washington Hall, University of Mary Washington
Fredericksburg, 22401
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