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Dr. Brian Clardy Discusses Upcoming Lecture on Feb. 20 as Part of Murray State's Black Heritage Lecture Series

Murray State professor of history Dr. Brian Clardy will speak on Monday, February 20th, as part of MSU's Black Heritage Lecture series.
Murray State University
Murray State professor of history Dr. Brian Clardy will speak on Monday, February 20th, as part of MSU's Black Heritage Lecture series.

Murray State University has been celebrating Black History Month with a wide variety of programming and events that will continue through the rest of the spring semester. This schedule includes a Black Heritage Lecture Series featuring MSU history professor Dr. Brian Clardy this Monday, February 20th, at 5:30 pm in the Blackburn Science Building, room 228. Clardy discusses his upcoming presentation with Austin Carter.

"I'm basically going to be having a heart-to-heart with the students," Clardy begins, "and telling them about this world that they're about to enter into. Domestically, the United States is in a little bit of a flux. And so is the international order—it's very unstable now. You have rising tensions with China, a war with Ukraine that threatens to pull in the whole of the continent if it goes completely left. This is the world that they're going to enter. It's going to be their generation that's going to have to take the leadership in the next 20 to 30 years from now. I want to get them prepared for that and give them the tools to be leaders in the community."

While Clardy says that there is certainly historical precedence for today's current events, such as the rise of authoritarianism, authoritarian rule, and alternate facts, there is a distinct difference between these students' generation and his own, for example. "My generation, we had the 24-hour news cycle that was just getting started, but we did not have the means to communicate on a global scale. These students do. They have the internet, smartphones, iPads, the ability to create podcasts. They are part of a global community, and I want them to be able to use that for positive ends."

Clardy says he hopes to see students use this technology to explore traditional forms of news, like NPR, the BBC, written publications, and major television news networks. "I'd really like to see students engage in the larger global conversation [and] engage our decision makers. I don't mean in an ugly or confrontational kind of way. I would like to see our students come up with policies, solutions and work across political and ideological aisles. Talk to our local, state, and federal leaders. Being able to compromise at different times."

"You might not get everything you want in negotiating on the bargaining table on day one," he continues, "but win those victories that you can so that you can come back and fight another day. I find that when you engage policymakers without raising a voice, without anger, without the type of vitriol that we've been seeing, I find that policymakers are more attuned to have a dialogue with you, and you can get a whole lot done that way. I think in our national political conversation, we really need to tone down the rhetoric and vitriol and go back to talking to each other and listening to each other. That's what I want to impart on Monday night."

"Never be afraid to step outside your comfort zone," Clardy says. "Always be willing to engage in conversation with people you don't agree with, people you may not necessarily have an affinity toward. Get to know people. All of our stories matter. I think that what we're lacking in this 21st century is something that has carried the human race for several hundreds of thousands of years, and that's the ability to empathize. We need that back. We need to be able to tear down these walls that have separated us by race, gender, ideology, religion, and politics. We need to tear those down and, instead, built bridges. These students not just have the advantage of being able to participate in the global conversation but the responsibility to act responsible in doing so."

"I encounter students every day—not just in the classroom but outside the classroom and in formal and informal settings. I notice one thing that they are, and they are open. They're open to new ideas. They're excited about being here. They're excited about the opportunities in front of them. I just want them to get to channel these energies toward something more collective. Instead of individualistic, but collective."

"Start a new movement in this country and in the world. Just as the generation of the 1960s was able to change the conversation on war, women's rights, civil rights, I think that this generation has a similar opportunity to do so. I know the potential is there. I know the optimism is there. I just want to give them some good, old Dutch uncle advice," Clardy concludes.

"An Evening with Brian Clardy," part of Murray State's Black Heritage Lecture Series, will take place on Monday, February 20th, at 5:30 pm in the Blackburn Science Building, room 228. For more information, visit Murray State's website.

Austin Carter is a Murray State grad and has been involved with WKMS since he was in high school. Over the years he has been a producer for WKMS and has hosted several music shows, but now calls Morning Edition his home each weekday morning.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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