In this beautifully written book, Eric Motley shares his personal odyssey of grace and gratitude. This is a memoir about love – love of family, community, literature, language, and ideas.
–Mrs. Laura Bush
The Ann Korologos Gallery Art & Literature Program presented Eric Motley, author of the memoir Madison Park: A Place of Hope, for an author’s talk and book signing on June 20, 2018 in Basalt. The event was well attended, and the talk engaging. “In a time where the conversation gravitates towards what is wrong in the world, Motley shares not only what is right, but the deep values of community and its role in keeping the ‘American Dream’ alive,” reflects Ann Korologos.
Eric Motley, executive vice president of The Aspen Institute and former special assistant to President George W. Bush, grew up in a rural Alabama town founded by freed slaves. Raised by adoptive grandparents, Eric benefited from the care of the whole neighborhood, which instilled in him values of hope, self-determination, and generosity, and which prized education and faith. He tells the story of this proud black community in his memoir, Madison Park: A Place of Hope.
Madison Park, a rural hamlet outside of Montgomery, was founded in 1880. The founders and subsequent generations built a community on bedrock values of knowing your neighbor’s name, lending a helping hand, and supporting each other through life’s ups and down. “Every aspect of our common life was imbued with a sense of ‘we, not me,’” Motley says. “Alienation is difficult in a place where we all believed that we were all responsible for one another. I didn’t simply ‘grow up.’ I was raised.”
As the “designated university kid” Motley benefited from a communal drive for him to succeed. People gave their time and talent, serving as volunteer tutors, driving him to educational events, sharing books and records, encouraging his sense of curiosity.
Motley attended Samford University in Birmingham, and received a Rotary Fellowship to study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where he stayed on to earn his Ph.D. Along the way, mentors played important roles in his life, offering friendship, wisdom, financial assistance, and introductions to people such as fellow Alabamian Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.