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"Resurrecting a Fallen King" in Review

Feb 10 2023
Anthony Cook and Dean Scott pose for a photo following the engaging talk.
Anthony Cook and Dean Scott pose for a photo following the engaging talk.

Friday, February 2, California Western hosted Professor Anthony Cook on campus for a talk entitled “Resurrecting the King.” Anthony Cook is Professor of Law and Special Advisor to the Dean for Community and Justice at Georgetown Law, as well as the Founding Director of the Coalition for Racial Equity and Democratic Economy (CREDE).

In his talk, Professor Cook sought to challenge the public image frequently associated with Martin Luther King Jr. – an image perpetuated by former US President Ronald Reagan. In 1983, Reagan famously stated, “Dr. King had awakened something strong and true, a sense that true justice must be colorblind.” Prof. Cook argued that this rhetoric of colorblindness changed the narrative to more abstract economic discussions but served to perpetuate the racial disparities on a systemic level.

Professor Cook instead chooses to center on a “disruptive and transformative King.”

“King was no colorblind liberal wearing rose-tinted glasses through which he could only see fairy tale dreams of America's past, present, and future. He was a much more nuanced thinker and activist than Reagan portrayed in the Rose Garden.”

These ideologies are the basis for CREDE, an organization he pioneered to circulate money within local communities.

“In prototyping the future and doing what we're doing, we are trying to give people a visual example of what can be right. I think that education needs to do more of that – in law schools, undergraduates, at every level. Hands-on, feet on the ground, a lived experience of engaging in the science of possibility.”

Professor Cook discussed what he describes as a democratic socialist approach – which he distinguishes from socialism and communism – that constrains the abuses of capitalism so the capital can circulate within local communities. We encourage anyone who wishes to learn more about Prof. Cook’s on the ground efforts to read about CREDE’s activities on Georgetown's website.

Dean Sean Scott, in her introduction of Professor Cook, noted that “It’s important to understand the distinction between income and wealth, because it is wealth that is the tool that allows us to bring about equality. The CREDE project that he has sponsored and is guiding really takes this wonderful praxis, this wonderful nexus between our ideals and what happens on the ground.”