Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - 6:00pm

Author Theodore R. Johnson discusses When the Stars Begin to Fall  with Secretary Ray Mabus on Wednesday, July 7th at 6:00 pm CT on Zoom.

This event is free to attend but registration is required. Click here to RSVP.

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"Racism is an existential threat to America," Theodore R. Johnson declares at the start of his profound and exhilarating book. It is a refutation of the American Promise enshrined in our Constitution that all men and women are inherently equal. And yet racism continues to corrode our society. If we cannot overcome it, Johnson argues, while the United States will remain as a geopolitical entity, the promise that made America unique on Earth will have died.

When the Stars Begin to Fall makes a compelling, ambitious case for a pathway to the national solidarity necessary to mitigate racism. Weaving memories of his own and his family's multi-generational experiences with racism, alongside strands of history, into his elegant narrative, Johnson posits that a blueprint for national solidarity can be found in the exceptional citizenship long practiced in Black America. Understanding that racism is a structural crime of the state, he argues that overcoming it requires us to recognize that a color-conscious society--not a color-blind one--is the true fulfillment of the American Promise.

Fueled by Johnson's ultimate faith in the American project, grounded in his family's longstanding optimism and his own military service, When the Stars Begin to Fall is an urgent call to undertake the process of overcoming what has long seemed intractable.


About the Author:

Theodore R. Johnson is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Fellows Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, where he undertakes research on race, politics, and American identity. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, he was a National Fellow at New America and a Commander in the United States Navy, serving for twenty years in a variety of positions, including as a White House Fellow in the first Obama administration and as speechwriter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His work on race relations has appeared in prominent national publications across the political spectrum, including the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and National Review, among others.


About the Host:

Ray Mabus has been Secretary of the US Navy, Governor, Ambassador and CEO.Ray Mabus served as the 75th United States Secretary of the Navy from 2009 to 2017, the longest tenure as leader of the Navy and Marine Corps since World War I. As Secretary during President Obama’s Administration, he revolutionized the Navy and Marine Corps, opening all jobs to women, aggressively moving to alternative energy as a warfighting measure, building more than twice as many ships during his term than in the preceding eight years and developing the Gulf Coast Restoration Plan after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It was during his watch that Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden.  Among many awards, he was chosen as one of the top fifty CEOs in America by GlassDoor, the only government person picked. 

From 1988 to 1992, Mabus served as Governor of Mississippi, the youngest elected to that office in more than 150 years. Mississippi experienced record growth in jobs, education, tourism and exports.

Mabus was United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1994-1996. He was CEO of a public company from 2006-2007 leading it out of bankruptcy in less than a year while paying all creditors in full and saving equity.

Today, Mabus is Chair of InStride, a public benefit education company,  a director of three public companies,  Hilton, Dana, and Kadem Sustainable Impact (Chair), the founder of Mabus Group, a consulting organization, an executive fellow at Harvard Business School and a board member or advisor to several other companies. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations,  the Explorers Club, and the Screen Actors Guild. He serves on the boards of the Environmental Defense Fund and Jose Andreas’ World Central Kitchen.  He has thrown out the first pitch at all 30 major league ballparks. He has stood on both poles and, during his life, has traveled to more than 190 countries and territories. 

Secretary Mabus is a native of Ackerman, Mississippi, and received a Bachelor's Degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Mississippi, a Master's Degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a Law Degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. Mabus served in the Navy as an officer aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock.


Event address: 

Zoom Webinar
When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802157850
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - June 8th, 2021