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Author, Radio Host and Professor of Sociology Michael Eric Dyson Keynotes Washington and Lee's Multi-day King Celebration

Michael Eric Dyson, University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, will highlight a series of lectures, panel discussions and a viewing and discussion of “Selma” when Washington and Lee University holds its annual observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 15–21.

Dyson will present the keynote address, “Reviving the Revolutionary King,” on Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. in Lee Chapel. His speech and all other events in the multi-day program, Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., are free and open to the public.

In addition to Dyson’s keynote, events will include lectures by several distinguished scholars, including a Mudd Center for Ethics Lecture by University of Southern California professor Claudia Rankine; a panel discussion on the Future of Voting Rights after Shelby County; the annual children’s MLK Birthday Party; and the Reflections Dinner.

The complete schedule follows.

Dyson, a prolific author, radio host and public intellectual, was named by Essence magazine as one of the 50 most inspiring African Americans in the U.S. He has taken on tough and controversial issues, including race, politics and pop culture.

He has written or edited 18 books including “April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King’s Death and How it Changed America” (2008) and “Debating Race” (2007). In his 2006 book “Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster,” Dyson analyzed the political and social events in the wake of the catastrophe against the backdrop of an overall “failure in race and class relations” (Publishers Weekly).

Dyson won the American Book Award for “Come Hell or High Water” in 2007 and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Non Fiction in 2004 and 2006 for “Why I Love Black Women” (2002) and “Is Bill Cosby Right?: or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind” (2005).

Dyson hosted a show on Radio One from January 2006 to February 2007. He was also a commentator on National Public Radio and CNN and is a regular guest on “Real Time with Bill Maher.” In July 2011, he became a political analyst for MSNBC. He hosts a radio show on NPR member station WAMU 88.5 in Washington, D.C.

The complete schedule of events:

Jan. 15
11:30 a.m.—2:30 p.m., Elrod Commons Living Room
Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Week Kickoff
King will be toasted with cupcakes and punch on his actual birthday and the start of the six-day celebration.

Jan. 17
6 p.m., Lee Chapel
Keynote Address: “Reviving the Revolutionary King.” Michael Eric Dyson, University Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University, author and radio host
Reception following in Evans Dining Hall

Jan. 18
11 a.m.–1 p.m., Elrod Commons
Children’s Birthday Party for Martin Luther King Jr.

3–4:30 p.m., Millhiser Moot Court Room, School of Law panel discussion, From Poll Taxes to Voter ID Laws: The Future of Voting Rights After Shelby County
Moderator: Chris Seaman, associate professor of law, W&L School of Law
Panelists: Nicole Austin-Hillery, director and counsel of the Washington, D.C., office of the New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice; Atiba Ellis, professor of law, West Virginia University College of Law; Mark Rush, Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law and director of international education, Washington and Lee University

4:30–5:30 p.m., Hillel Multipurpose Room
In His Own Words: Lessons from Dr. King for Today
A student-led discussion of the relevance of one of Dr. King’s speeches to our community today
Moderator: Howard Pickett, director, Shepherd Poverty Program|
Facilitators: Teddy Corcoran, John Juneau, MaKayla Lorick, Elizabeth Mugo

6 p.m., Evans Dining Hall
Reflections Dinner
RSVP required

Jan. 19
12:20–1:30 p.m., Science Center Addition, Room 202A
Brown Bag Lunch, a talk by James Peterson, director of Africana Studies, associate professor of English, Lehigh University.
RSVP required

Jan. 20
4:30 p.m., Stackhouse Theater
Mudd Center for Ethics/King Week Lecture: Claudia Rankine, poet and Aerol Arnold Chair of English, University of Southern California, will speak on “The Creative Imagination and Race: The Making of ‘Citizen.’ ”

Jan. 21
6 p.m., Stackhouse Theater
Viewing of the movie “Selma” with discussion following.
Moderators: Emahunn Raheem Ali Campbell, assistant professor of English, Washington and Lee University; Ted DeLaney, associate professor of history, Washington and Lee University; Chris Seaman, associate professor of law, Washington and Lee University School of Law