Dyson to Appear at News Conference

WHAT: News conferenceWHO: Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, author of April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King’s Death and How It Changed America, will take questions from the media prior to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University. Dyson will be the keynote speaker at the dinner.WHEN: 4:30-5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 21WHERE: Show Me Center front meeting rooms DETAILS:

Dyson is a prolific author, scholar, public intellectual, ordained minister, media commentator, and talk show host. He is currently a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, where he teaches religion, English and African American studies. Dyson, who is an American Book Award recipient and two-time NAACP Image Award winner, is one of the nation’s most influential and renowned public intellectuals. He has been named one of the 150 most powerful African Americans by Ebony magazine. The Philadelphia Weekly says Dyson “is reshaping what it means to be a public intellectual by becoming the most visible black academic of his time.”

Dyson’s pioneering scholarship has had a profound affect on American ideas. His first book, 1993’s Reflecting Black: African American Cultural Criticism, helped establish the field of black American cultural studies. His next book, 1994’s Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X, was named one of the most important African American books of the 20th century. Dyson’s first book on Martin Luther King, 2000’s I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr., made a significant contribution to King scholarship by recovering the radical legacy of the slain civil rights leader. According to book industry bible Publisher’s Weekly, Dyson’s 2001 book, Holler if You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur, helped to make books on hip hop commercially viable. His 2006 book Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster, was the first major book on Katrina and probed the racial and class fallout from the storm. And Dyson’ 2005 New York Times bestseller Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? helped to jumpstart a national conversation on the black poor that has been called the most important debate in black America since the historic debate between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. Dyson’s latest book, the New York Times bestselling April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Death and How It Changed America, has been hailed by the Washington Post as “an excellent sociological primer on institutionalized racism in America.”

Dyson has taught at Brown, Chapel Hill, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania and has appeared on nearly every major media outlet, including “The Today Show,” “Nightline,” “O’Reilly Factor,” “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Real Time with Bill Maher.” He also has cemented his star appeal on such shows as “Rap City,” “Def Poetry Jam” and “The Colbert Report.” He is also a contributing editor of Time magazine. Dyson’s powerful work has made him what the Washington Post terms a “superstar professor.” His fearless and fiery oratory led the Chronicle of Higher Education to declare that with his rhetorical gifts he “can rock classroom and chapel alike.” Dyson’s eloquent writing inspired Vanity Fair magazine to describe him as “one of the most graceful and lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today.” His legendary rise – from welfare father to Princeton Ph.D., from church pastor to college professor, from a factory worker who didn’t start college until he was 21 to a figure who has become what writer Naomi Wolf terms “the ideal public intellectual of our time” – may help explain why author Nathan McCall simply calls Dyson “a street fighter in suit and tie.”