It is quite fitting that John Eaves chose to title his book about the success journeys of Morehouse men, Speakers of the House.
Most people who are familiar with the College probably know that alumni and students fondly refer to Morehouse simply as The House a term that embodies our collective feeling of pride and sense of familial bond to the special place that was our academic home during our undergraduate education. Most people familiar with Morehouse also know that if there is one thing that distinguishes Morehouse men, it is our penchant to speak to investigate and think about important ideas, and then clearly and persuasively make known our views on issues of significance to ourselves and others in the places where we live, work, play, study, worship, and raise our families. But what many people may not know is that one definition of speaker of the house, a designation that dates back to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1789, is elect of the elect. The notion is that a speaker of the house is a leader among leaders, one who exemplifies and embodies the qualities that can be found in others of the same ilk, one who effectively represents the vision and values of a group.
In his Speakers of the House, John Eaves has identified 30 of the elect of the elect of Morehouse men. They are engaged as leaders in all walks of life from medicine, to law, to education, to business, to politics, to the ministry, and the arts, and, represent more than five decades of education at Morehouse from 1948 to 2006. In their own words, these alumni tell their personal stories about the impact Morehouse had on their development as men and as leaders. In so doing, they speak for thousands of other graduates of the College whose lives also have been enhanced by the Morehouse experience.
Indeed, this book could not have been written at a more propitious time, a time when the overwhelming majority of stories we read and hear about black men in America are negative, mostly depicting them as trapped in a drug/gang culture, and trailing far behind African American women in educational achievement beginning in grade school, and continuing through high school, college and graduate school. In stark contrast, the stories these Morehouse men tell about their lives and their success, and the factors that contributed to their being able to achieve their goals in life, are truly inspirational.
While very different in many respects, the stories of the Speakers of the House highlight common themes: the importance of brotherhood, the commitment to academic rigor and excellence, the value of a liberal arts education, and, something that might surprise those who do not know Morehouse, the contribution that the diversity of the student body and faculty made to their development.
These themes have and continue to be hallmarks of a Morehouse education that are as compelling for students today as they were for that first class of students when the College was founded nearly 140 years ago. However, there is one theme that seems to rise above all others, and that is the emphasis Morehouse places on preparing its students for leadership.
Regardless of the field, profession, or walk of life these gentlemen pursued, practically all of them expressed a strong view that Morehouse expected them to become leaders, and helped to prepare them to become leaders. In each case, these gentlemen took on the challenge posed by Morehouse and devoted themselves to becoming leaders, in particular, servant leaders whose responsibilities, by definition, include giving back to society.