I Had No Idea You Were Black: Navigating Race on the Road to Leadership

by Ronald A. Crutcher

During this time of intense polarization, Ronald Crutcher’s life as a Black leader successfully bridging America’s cultural divides offers a compelling story with important lessons for today’s thinkers. Born to two parents who never graduated high school, Dr. Crutcher grew up to become a leader at the highest levels of academia and the arts. As a child musician, he met with Coretta Scott King. As an adult educator, he sat at Maya Angelou’s holiday table.

But it is Dr. Crutcher’s success as a Black intellectual navigating highly charged social issues that makes his story both unforgettable and urgently important. Whether navigating cancel culture at the University of Richmond, where he serves as President in the heart of the former Confederacy, or teaching Northeast liberals the true meaning of functional diversity, Dr. Crutcher offers lessons on life and leadership that none of us can afford to ignore.

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