This Author Talk will be held on day two of our 2022 Martin Luther King Day commemoration.
How do well-meaning people help a community move beyond its past when confronted by those who hold ingrained stereotypes, profit from maintaining the status quo, or are filled with antipathy toward others? This book tells the story of how a Black university president tried to do just that when he led the first non-court ordered merger of an historically Black university with an historically white two-year college in Albany, Georgia.
Arthur "Art" N. Dunning came of age in the Black Belt of Alabama during the Jim Crow era. Among many pivotal experiences, he was part of a group of student athletes who helped to integrate Bear Bryant's University of Alabama football team in 1967. The values instilled in him by his family and those in his close-knit community, together with life experiences through education and from living, working, and traveling abroad over more than forty years as an educator, shaped his approach to leading Albany State University, an HBCU, through its 2016 merger with all-white Darton State College.
The community's reaction to the merger proved to be an extreme example of what our nation is experiencing today. The perceived threat of embracing change while racially integrating two institutions brought out painful stereotypes, racial orthodoxy, tribalism, suspicion, and conspiracy theories. It peeled away a veneer of racial harmony and exposed unhealthy patterns of behavior and entrenched beliefs held by community members of both races. Dunning shares here the hard but valuable leadership lessons learned when his race and his personal southern history intersected with a university and city that were abruptly forced to acknowledge their own history-and were challenged to envision a different future.
About the Author
Arthur N. Dunning is a veteran administrator, scholar, and lecturer with a distinguished track record in higher education in Alabama and Georgia, including service as Vice Chancellor for International Programs and Outreach for the University of Alabama System; Senior Vice Chancellor for Human and External Resources with the University System of Georgia; Vice President for Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia; and President of Albany State University.
Unreconciled is available for purchase in our online shop.
Promotional language provided by publisher.