Michael Patrick MacDonald to Headline Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events
The boy from Southie who became a best-selling author to share lessons in building bridges between cultures
January 08, 2008
ANDOVER — He grew up in the racist, poor, and bloody maw that was Southie during the turmoil of the school busing controversy in the 1970s. But Michael Patrick MacDonald did more than survive, though half of his eight siblings died premature deaths. He grasped the elusive alchemy of turning hurt into healing as a community organizer and then as author of two compelling, deeply personal books, All Souls and Easter Rising, which view those volatile times from the inside.
On Monday, January 21, at 9:30 a.m., MacDonald will address All-School Meeting at Cochran Chapel, kicking off a day-long tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that involves students and faculty in films and workshops and includes several speakers on campus. The MacDonald lecture is sponsored by Phillips Academy’s Office of Community and Multicultural Development (CAMD). The author will be available for a book signing immediately following his presentation, and then attend an open house in his honor at the CAMD Office from noon to 2 p.m.
Students and faculty were encouraged to read MacDonald’s books over the winter recess, and as a result the campus has been buzzing about his upcoming appearance. “The book is haunting, with memories of a dangerous time,” said Linda Carter Griffith, dean of CAMD. She would know, as she also lived through those times. “To be in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time could cost you your life. I was 12 at the time and had no idea how much my life would change when white kids were bused into my all-black middle school in a nearby neighborhood.” Griffith is eager for MacDonald to share his message of hope with the Andover community. “He shows that through compassion and storytelling we can heal and come together in America’s struggles of race and class,” she said.
MacDonald was selected by a group of PA students who are members of the MLK Planning Group because, Griffith says, “He is living proof that one caring and courageous person can make a difference in the lives of many.” In the spirit of King’s legacy, MacDonald will speak to the importance of building bridges and strengthening community.
Copies of the books are available to students and faculty at the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library.