Greetings Brothers!

In his most recent book, Begin Again, Eddie Glaude, Jr. makes relevant and poignant connections between James Baldwin’s America and the lessons it has for the American circumstance we find ourselves in today. In Begin Again, Glaude describes what he calls the American lie, as follows:

“Baldwin’s understanding of the American condition cohered around a set of practices that, taken together, constitute something I will refer to throughout this book as the lie. The idea of facing the lie was always at the heart of Jimmy’s witness, because he thought that it, as opposed to our claim to the shiny city on a hill, was several sets of lies with a single purpose. If what I have called the “value gap” is the idea that in America white lives have always mattered more than the lives of others, then the lie is a broad and powerful architecture of false assumptions by which the value gap is maintained. These are the narrative assumptions that support the everyday order of American life, which means we breathe them like air. We count them as truths. We absorb them into our character.”

Glaude goes on to say that “Baldwin placed the lie at the heart of the country’s founding” when in 1964 he wrote, “The people who settled the country had a fatal flaw. They could recognize a man when they saw one. They knew he wasn’t…anything else but a man; but since they were Christian, and since they had already decided that they came here to establish a free country, the only way to justify this chattel was playing in one’s life was to say that he was not a man. For if he wasn’t, then no crime had been committed. That lie is the basis of our present trouble.”

In the March 1958 Oracle there appeared a letter written by Brother John P. Murchison who once served as the Editor of the Oracle from 1925-1927. The letter was addressed to then Senator Hubert Humphrey. The letter is fascinating and very much connected to what Glaude, through the works of Baldwin, revisits as the source of the race problem and its potential solution. In his letter, Brother Murchison proffers and urges a change to the system of education in the U.S., placing at the heart and spirit of the American education curriculum a set of ethical ideas that collectively define the moral end to American democracy and the logical ideas that provide the means to the end. At the time, Murchison’s proffer revealed his belief that discontinuing the lie could be achieved by changing the educational architecture used by whites to perpetuate the lie. I urge you to make time to read Murchison’s letter (attached) and recommend picking up a copy of Glaude’s book, Begin Again, if you haven’t already.

Read More – Murchison_March1958Oracle

Make it a great week Brothers. Be noble!

3rd District History and Archives Committee
The Monday Pearl is provided by the Third District History and Archives Committee and is a weekly sharing of fraternity content, commentary, and research of historical value we hope Brothers will enjoy and from which Brothers will draw inspiration. Previous “Pearls” can be found at The Committee encourages your feedback. Should you have reactions, comments, information, anecdotes, documents, and the like, related to any of the content we share, we’d very much like to hear from you. Please send all communication to