Meet Author Margaret Edds, “What the Eyes Can’t See”

Monday, September 11, 2023
Bellacino’s Pizza & Grinders, 1176 Roanoke Rd., Daleville
Host: Democratic Committee of Botetourt County
6:30pm: DCBC Business Meeting
7:00pm: Speaker Margaret Edds

The Democratic Commitee of Botetourt County invites all to hear guest speaker Margaret Edds, former journalist and author, and to discuss her latest work, “What the Eyes Can’t See: Ralph Northam, Black Resolve, and a Racial Reckoning.”

The book’s publisher, University of South Carolina Press, summarizes the work as follows: “Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s ‘blackface scandal’ could have destroyed any politician. The photo of Governor Northam purportedly in blackface created a firestorm not only locally but also in every political sphere. What the Eyes Can’t See details why Northam’s career did not end with the scandal, and how it made him a better governor—and a better citizen.”

It continues, “In this book Margaret Edds 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. Both scolding and encouraging, they led Northam to a deeper understanding of the racism and pain the photograph symbolized. To Northam’s credit, he listened, and more importantly learned the lessons of endemic, systemic racism and applied those lessons to his legislative agenda. Edds provides a revealing examination of race in the nation, how racism might be addressed and reckoned with, and how we all may find a measure of redemption in listening to one another.”

"The title of the book comes from Northam’s admonition to medical students that “the eyes can’t see what the brain doesn’t know.” If they’re unaware of a particular medical condition, he tells them, they won’t recognize it, even if all the symptoms are staring them right in the face. Similarly, those who haven’t experienced racism themselves or made a conscious effort to recognize it can easily go through life without seeing it. What the Eyes Can’t See urges White Virginians and Americans to remove blinders and come to grips with the ways in which individuals and society help perpetuate racial disparity and despair.

- Margaret Edds (Read her full remarks here.)  

Edds is a former reporter and editorial writer for the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. Additional books include We Face the Dawn: Oliver Hill, Spottswood Robinson, and the Legal Team That Dismantled Jim Crow; Finding Sara: A Daughter’s Journey; and An Expendable Man: The Near-Execution of Earl Washington Jr. among others.

The speaker and discussion will take place immediately following the regular meeting of the DCBC on Monday, September 11, 2023, at Bellacino’s Pizza & Grinders, 1176 Roanoke Road in Daleville. Business meeting starts at 6:30pm. Speaker presentation begins at 7:00pm.

Contact DCBC for more information: demsbotetourt@gmail.com.

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