Régine Jean-Charles, an Africana Studies professor, is out with her third book, A Trumpet of Conscience for the 21st Century: King’s Call to Justice. How the Black feminist literary scholar came to connect the dots between Martin Luther King’s 1960s-era speeches with modern-day social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter is a story in itself.
It was early 2019 and, teaching at another school in Boston at the time, Jean-Charles was asked to deliver a King holiday speech in front of hundreds of people. She wanted to remember the civil rights icon outside of what she calls “the box” that his legacy has been in since his death in 1968.
“The ‘I Have a Dream’ box, the colorblind society box, the peace box,” Jean-Charles recalled Tuesday at a book launch event in the Cabral Center on the Boston campus. She joined Northeastern over the summer and holds the following titles: Dean’s Professor of Culture and Social Justice; professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and director of Africana Studies.
The idea behind her new book actually sprang from an op-ed she authored in 2019, “It’s time to take Martin Luther King Jr. out of the box.”