I'm a huge fan of Princeton University's Cornel West . I've read several of his books, but most inspirational has been the opportunities I've had to meet him on a couple of occasions. The first time was at a seminar sponsored by the Industrial Areas Foundation, where I and a group of leaders from across the southwest engaged in community organizing had a chance to not only listen to him lecture, but engage with him personally.
The second time was when I had the privilege of being a member of the inaugural class of Harvard University's Summer Leadership Institute. He was one of the presenters, at that time a member of Harvard's 'Dream Team', a group of African-American professors whose academic excellence and prodigious intellects were held in high regard.
West's own intellect is without parallel. He is indeed, for African-Americans of my generation, our W.E.B. DuBois! What I found to be amazing, and what continues to amaze me about him is his breadth of concern for all people, his truly prophetic stance on politics, and his tremendous accessibility. When you speak to him in a small group, or one on one, his intense personality, his genuine spirit and his keen sense of humor shines through. Yet, at no level, are you left without a clear impression of his commitment to justice, and the respect for the dignity and humanity of all people.
Dr. West is also a prostate cancer survivor, which gives us something in common. He now has a memoir out that is now on my 'got to get' list, "Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud". In this C-Span interview he talks about his own experience with the disease, his view on health care and his surprising perspective on the presidency and potential of Barack Obama.
Hope you enjoy. And if you're interested in hearing more of this brilliant philosopher preacher, do yourself a favor and you can find more here. I'd be interested in reading what you think...