University of Rochester

EVENT: Public Intellectual, MSNBC Political Analyst, Noted Author to Give MLK Commemorative Address

December 20, 2011

Michael Eric Dyson, political analyst for MSNBC, acclaimed author, and professor of sociology at Georgetown University, will deliver the University of Rochester's 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address on Friday, Jan. 27. The free talk begins at 6 p.m. in Strong Auditorium on the River Campus.

Dyson has written extensively on prominent figures in the civil rights movement, including books on Martin Luther King, Jr. (I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.) and Malcolm X (Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X). His scholarship has also explored the hip hop culture through a book on rapper Tupac Shakur (Holler if You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur) and a Georgetown University course on Jay-Z, "Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z."

A prominent figure in the media, Dyson hosts an hour-long news show on NPR, "The Michael Eric Dyson Show," and has appeared on television programs including The Today Show, Nightline, Real Time with Bill Maher, Rap City, Def Poetry Jam, and The Colbert Report.

"We are honored to have Dr. Dyson as our Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address speaker," said Norman Burnett, dean and director of the Office of Minority Student Affairs and chair of the College Diversity Roundtable. "Dyson's work has advanced national discussions and sparked thought-provoking debates on both the historical and contemporary cultural issues that are important to the African-American community."

Dyson is the recipient of two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Literary Work Non-Fiction and won a 2007 American Book Award for Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster. He has taught at Brown University, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania and was named one of the most influential black Americans by Ebony magazine.

The culmination of a weeklong celebration of King's life and the kick-off for Black History Month, the annual address is co-sponsored by the College Diversity Roundtable and the Office of the President.

Note to Editors: Press availability with Dr. Dyson will be scheduled from 3:30 to 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, in the Welles-Brown Room of the Rush Rhees Library. Interviews also can be scheduled by e-mailing Melissa Greco Lopes at or calling 585.276.3693.