In one of the most inspirational memoirs of 2018, Motley tells the story of his proud black Alabama roots that is a testament to the values of faith, family, and community.
Eric Motley has lived the American dream, in part because so many people dreamed it for him. The first member of his family to go to college, he graduated from Samford University in Alabama, went on to receive a Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and then became the youngest appointee in President George W. Bush’s White House. Today, he’s an executive vice president of Washington, D.C.’s Aspen Institute, an organization that brings together diverse leaders in an effort to solve critical problems in society. But none of those achievements would have been thinkable if not for the love and guidance Motley received from his caregiver grandparents and countless members of his neighborhood, Madison Park, a tight-knit enclave of Montgomery, Alabama, that was founded in 1880 by freed slaves. His new memoir, “Madison Park: A Place of Hope,” is a valentine to the place and the people who shaped him — and the true meaning of community.
Prior to the Aspen Institute, Motley served as managing director of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program and as the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute-Rockefeller Foundation’s Commission to Reform the Federal Appointments Process. Motley serves on the Board of Directors of Barry-Wehmiller Companies, The James Madison Council of the Library of Congress, the Library Cabinet for the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mt. Vernon, jury member of the Ken Burns American Heritage Prize, The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s National Council, and The John F. Kennedy Centennial Memorial Task Force, among others. He is a book collector of first editions and rare books with a concentration on the English writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson.
The Esther B. O’Keeffe Speaker Series features notable speakers from the fields of politics, culture and the media. Lectures take place January through March on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. Book signings, when offered, are held in the O’Keeffe Gallery Building following the lecture, and are available to the public at no charge.