ICYMI: ‘A Place of Hope’: Eric L. Motley on His Life in the Historic Madison Park Community

in Nonfiction by

The Madison Park community in Montgomery, Alabama, has one of the most interesting and important histories in the country. Founded in 1880 by fourteen former slaves, they established a school, a church, and ultimately, a philosophy of community that has lasted for generations. One such person to be raised there was Eric L. Motley, the youngest appointee in the White House under the Bush Administration, where, immediately after obtaining his Ph.D from the University of St. Andrews, he became of the Deputy Associate Director, Office of Presidential Personnel, at the age of 27.

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Since that first appointment, Motley has held positions such as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush; Director of the Office of International Visitors in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; Vice President and Managing Director of the Henry Crown Fellows Program; and is currently the Executive Vice President and Corporate Secretary of the Aspen Institute. Now, he has become an author. His memoir, Madison Park: A Place of Hope, documents his early life, and the lessons he learned from growing up in his community.

This memoir is more than just a recounting of a past history. Deeply inspiring and thought-provoking, Motley introduces us to the people who changed his life: Aunt Shine, the matriarch who pushed and encouraged his education despite any obstacle; his grandparents, who bought him books they couldn’t afford; and Revered Brinkley, a man of faith who helped guide Motley.

While life in the Madison Park community was not always easy, fair, or just, with having to face on a daily basis the continued legacy of racism and segregation, Motley recounts the values and morals that shaped him, his ability to confront these injustices and prejudices, and the Madison Park community itself: hospitality, hard work, encouragement, respect, and never turning away someone in need.

This is more than just your typical memoir: it recounts a part of history, of a community, that is not often taught, and provides a basis for understanding the values that we as a national community should have.

‘Madison Park: A Place of Hope’ will be published on November 14th.


Image courtesy of amazon.com

Eric L. Motley grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, the son of adoptive grandparents who raised him in the community of Madison Park, which was founded by freed slaves in 1880. From this beginning in the black community he rose to become a special assistant to President George W. Bush.  Eric is executive vice president of the think tank The Aspen Institute which on a national and international level discusses today’s global issues that face the United States and her partners across the world.

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Rachel Fogle De Souza was born and raised in Connecticut, and traveled extensively throughout Europe, parts of Asia, and the United States, before attending college at the University of California, Davis, where she received a B.A. in Comparative Literature, with a double minor in Women, Gender and Sexualities studies, and Middle Eastern/South Asian studies. When she's not writing, she's reading, boxing, or thinking about traveling.

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