David Henry Bradley Jr., an award-winning novelist and essayist, visited APSU on March 21 to speak at the Asanbe Diversity Symposium to address the hard-hitting question, “Is Diversity Still Supported?”
The symposium is put on each year by the APSU Department of Languages and Literature in memory of the first professor of African and African-American literature at APSU, Joseph Asanbe.
Bradley opened up his speech with humor as he removed his suit jacket and tie jokingly stating, “I’m wearing a jacket and a tie as a gesture of respect, you’ve seen it.”
Bradley had no filter with his choice of words and the facts he used when speaking on diversity. He continued giving examples of either the presence or lack of diversity from other universities such as Ogburn. He also commemorated APSU for its welcoming atmosphere recalling how nice the community has been to him both times he has visited the campus.
Bradley stated that he is not a diversity expert, but that he has done his research — joking that he has footnotes to prove it. He recalled his senior year when he heard a lecture from a sociologist who spoke about the importance of White-Anglo Saxon Protestants, leading him to write an essay he titled “The War Against the Lost.” This was just the beginning of his writing career, Bradley would go on to publish amazing and heartfelt work.
Bradley is a recipient of the PEN/Faulkner award which he received in 1982. He received this award after publishing two of his novels, South Street and The Chaneysville Incident. Bradley’s essays and novels tell stories about topics such as diversity, slavery and racism which brought to life history with words.
Ending the Symposium Bradley answered questions from the audience and also took the time to speak individually to those who lined up to speak to him.