Hybrid | What the Eyes Can’t See: Margaret Edds in conversation with Rob Shrode

Image shows headshots of Margaret Edds and Rob Shrode and the cover image of Edds' book, What the Eyes Can’t See

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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's 2019 "blackface scandal" could have destroyed any politician. The photo of him purportedly in blackface created a national firestorm. Almost every Democratic politician of note called on him to resign. He did not. What the Eyes Can't See details why Northam's career did not end with the scandal, and how he left office in January 2022 having overseen the most racially progressive term in Virginia since the 1880s (Confederate statues down, the death penalty abolished, decriminalization of marijuana launched, record number of pardons issued, no-knock warrants barred, police-oversight panels empowered, funding for challenged schools and affordable housing increased, etc., etc.) The book draws on unprecedented access to the governor, his aides, and members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, whose initial anger evolved into determination to mine good from an ugly episode. The book also delves into the role of Black leaders in fostering change. And it challenges all of us to examine our own lives, asking: What is it that I may not be seeing when it comes to racial disparity and injustice? What steps might I take to effect change?

“This book is no ordinary biography of Ralph Northam—it illustrates a man and a commonwealth, facing down history. The story transcends the now-infamous blackface controversy. Edds masterfully describes how the events of 2019 relate to America's tortured racial history, the politicization of that history, and one man's attempt to redeem himself—and his state—from the perils the past." -- Julian Hayter, Author of The Dream Is Lost: Voting Rights and the Politics of Race in Richmond, Virginia, and associate professor of leadership studies, University of Richmond.

PBS Newshour interview with Margaret Edds: https://www.allarts.org/programs/pbs-newshour/historic-reckoning-1671999365/

Margaret Edds is a former newspaper political writer and columnist for the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. She is the author of six books—most recently We Face the Dawn: Oliver Hill, Spottswood Robinson, and the Legal Team that Dismantled Jim Crow and Finding Sara: A Daughter’s Journey. She lives in Richmond, VA. 

Rob Shrode received his PhD in Political Science at UCLA.  He specializes in the fields of American politics; race, ethnicity and politics; and political psychology.  His work focuses on the role that identity plays in shaping public opinion and mass political behavior.  He currently holds a position as Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at UNC Asheville where he teaches on issues of race, class, gender and political geography. 

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What the Eyes Can't See: Ralph Northam, Black Resolve, and a Racial Reckoning in Virginia By Margaret Edds Cover Image
ISBN: 9781643363523
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of South Carolina Press - November 1st, 2022

SKU: x672389