GAINESVILLE, FL (FR) – As racism rears its ugly head throughout the nation, the need for compassionate and enlightened thinking swells. Incidents of racism in northeastern regions of Boston and New York, and the formation of groups like the skinheads and neo-Nazis have intensified the commitment of civil rights proponents everywhere.
At the University of Florida College of Law, Professor Anthony E. Cook is researching and advancing the causes entrenched in the hearts and minds of Black Americans through his scholarship and ministry. As a professor and part-time minister who is actively engaged in community service, Cook is committed to merging the realities of daily life with his vocation.
“There is an interplay between what I do as a legal scholar and what I do as a minister,” Cook says. “I try to see see how my activities in the community can inform my legal scholarship and how legal scholarship can inform my community activities.”
In a recent interview to be published in the Harvard Law Review, Cook presents the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a paradigm example of the necessary interplay between scholarship, ministry and community service. The article attempts to advance the concept as a way of approaching the problems of racism and inequality.
At Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Gainesville, Cook preaches once a month, counsels young adults and organizes youth projects. He is also a member of a local anti-drug task force and the Coalition Against Bigotry.
In all his work, Cook aims to raise consciousness concerning the problems of racism, poverty and crime. “We need more people thinking about the problems facing poor people and other oppressed groups in our society. Individuals who can transcend limitations should take advantage of opportunities to serve as role models or moral leaders to assist others.”
“Growing up across the road from a country church instilled a lot in me,” he said. “And my parents really expected a lot and encouraged me in every way. Consequently, I was a hard worker.”
- Rebecca M. Hoover