Tonight’s lecture was an interesting spin on my Valentine’s Day and I’m glad I attended! I agree with the other students who felt disappointed with the amount of time Coates talked and with the range of topics in which he covered. I could tell that he is a very bright individual, and his arguments were clear and easy to follow. But his speech left me wanting more. Additionally, when he so abruptly finished his speech in order to make time for questions, I felt as if I was missing something.

Throughout the speech he touched on the central topic of the Emancipation Proclamation and delved deeper into others of his choosing. My only wish was that he keep the amount of time spent on each topic consistent. In doing so, he would have impressed the audience even more with his knowledge of history and various texts.

Nonetheless, Coates talked about abolition, states rights, and the Civil War to a great extent, which reminded me of his own essay and Douglass’s Narrative. His asserting  of slavery as the “last gasp of aristocratic backwardness” and of racism as “an American problem” tied into his written essay flawlessly and really helped me draw connections to our class readings. Truly, listening to Coates talk was worthwhile for me as a reader.

Ultimately, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Coates’s speech and would have loved to hear more from him!


1 Comment so far

  1.    Claire Bowen on February 20, 2013 7:49 pm

    Caroline, you and Mark are on the same page, so to speak, here. I’m with you, too. I found Coates’s talk so very engaging as a talk–his persona, his energy, his tone of argument–but I wanted him to go deeper into a few things, rather than quickly through so many fascinating pieces.

    You’re clearly getting Coates’s capacity for the great, telling turn-of-phrase–e.g., “last gasp of aristocratic backwardness,” which is a terrific way of making a comment about class as it informs the system of slavery. What are some of the other specific connections you drew between Coates’s talk and our class?

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