Ralph Ellison and American Moral Perception
James Madison Program Black History Month Event
Lucas Morel, John K. Boardman, Jr. Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University
This lecture will explain how Ralph Ellison’s writings sought to improve the social and political vision of Americans. In keeping with the title of his landmark novel, Invisible Man, Ellison believed his civic duty as an American writer was to help readers see beyond “the mystique of race” so they could not only recognize what they had in common but also respect the diversity of each person. This entailed getting white Americans to see black Americans as equal citizens, as well as getting black Americans to see the value of their own experience as a significant contribution to America’s development. Ellison saw his literary efforts in improving America’s “moral perception” as his main contribution to the nation’s history-long, civil rights movement.
An America's Founding Future Lecture and James Madison Program Black History Month Event.
Lucas Morel is the John K. Boardman, Jr. Professor of Politics and Head of the Politics Department at Washington and Lee University. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate University. He is the editor of Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope: A Political Companion to “Invisible Man,” co-editor of The New Territory: Ralph Ellison and the Twenty-First Century, and author of book chapters and editorials on the politics of Ralph Ellison’s writings. He is also the author of Lincoln and the American Founding and Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government, and editor of Lincoln and Liberty: Wisdom for the Ages. Dr. Morel is a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society; former president of the Abraham Lincoln Institute; a consultant on the Library of Congress exhibits on Lincoln and the Civil War; a founding member of the Academic Freedom Alliance; and currently serves on the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, which will plan activities to commemorate the founding of the United States of America. Last year, he served as the Worsham Teaching Fellow at Hillsdale’s Graduate School of Government in Washington, DC, where he taught graduate courses on “Frederick Douglass” and the “Modern Civil Rights Movement.”