Eddie Glaude Jr. on the impact of seeing his son Langston graduate college

Eddie Glaude Jr. on the impact of seeing his son Langston graduate college
via Princeton University

Eddie Glaude Jr. stands as a leader in the field of education. As the chair of the Center for African-American Studies and the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African-American Studies at Princeton University, Glaude continues to educate and provide guidance to the future leaders of America.

But it was a special moment this past Spring when Glaude was able to witness his son, Langston, graduate from Brown University.

Glaude recently shared how he was impacted by that moment and revealed the importance of fatherhood.

Your son recently graduated college. What was that moment like for you as a father?

It was a feeling that approximates how I felt when he was born.  To see the pure joy in his eyes made my heart leap.  We have been through a lot together (and I was a bit rough on him) but he made it.  And I couldn’t help but be proud.

Why is it important for young Black males to be inspired to achieve higher education?

A college education is the best investment you can possibly make in your life.  It opens doors and offers you opportunities that you would not otherwise have.  Not only do we have to dream big, we have to do the things necessary to make those big dreams a reality.  College is one step in that regard.

How were you able to keep your son focused on the goal of education?

He had no choice. Both parents have PhDs. His godfather is Cornel West.  Books are everywhere in the house.  And he saw me daily in what he called “my cave” – which was my office.

From a father’s perspective, what two books would you recommend every teen or young adult read?

Anne Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi or Mary Patillo Beals’s Warriors Don’t Cry The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

Which father hood experiences have taught you the most about yourself?

Coaching my son in basketball.  I am hyper competitive and he isn’t.  He is so talented and I wanted him to be a “killer” on the court.  I found it difficult to accept that he wasn’t. I wish I could do it all over again and just enjoy watching him play.  Just let him be him.

What insightful advice would you suggest to other fathers who are raising their kids? Are their any books that should be read on this matter?

Instill in them a kind of confidence that will enable to navigate the world.  The moment we believe what the world says about us, we’re done. It’s over.  But, to paraphrase James Baldwin, the moment we step outside the expectations the world has of us, we are talking revolution.  Read all the Baldwin you can get your hands on (it will upend a kind of toxic masculinity too)

Name one life lesson that you wished you would have known when you were younger?

That supreme confidence in my own abilities is the key to the kingdom.

When it comes to protecting yourself at all times, physically and mentally, what would you tell your children?

Don’t ever let anyone diminish you.  And don’t you ever be complicit in the world’s attempt to make you small.

Share one of your fondest memories you’ve experienced with your father, grandfather or father figure.

My dad called me about a day or two after my son graduated.  And he said, “I wanted to tell you something. I haven’t told you how proud of you I am. I couldn’t express it. But that feeling you felt when you saw Langston graduate? That’s the feeling I have for you everyday.”  That brought it all home for me.

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