Dysons to Speak at Southeast During Black History Month


Photo of Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and Rev. Marcia Dyson.

Rev. Marcia Dyson and her husband Dr. Michael Eric Dyson will speak Feb. 24 at Southeast Missouri State University as part of the 2009-2010 Speaker Series.


Feb. 1, 2010 – The Rev. Marcia Dyson, hailed as one of the nation’s foremost religious figures, spiritual writers and noted civic-social activists, and her husband, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a best-selling author, scholar and cultural critic, are scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University.

This event is a part of the 2009-2010 University Speakers Series. Admission is free.

The Rev. Marcia Dyson has shared her wisdom and insight on leading pulpits across America, on lecture stages at many of the nation’s universities, and on the pages of some of the country’s most provocative magazines and books. As an ordained minister, stirring public speaker and gifted writer, Rev. Dyson has carried out a ministry of healing to wounded women, neglected children and suffering men throughout America and around the globe.

Her husband, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, is making a return trip to Southeast after presenting the keynote address in 2009 at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Dinner.

Rev. Marcia Dyson

Rev. Dyson is a native of Chicago, where she served as the first chief of staff for Operation Push’s International Trade Bureau. Dyson became a prominent media, marketing and public relations specialist, serving as a vice president of some of Chicago’s leading firms. In 1992, she was appointed by Mayor Richard Daley to serve as the Public Information Officer for the Mayor’s Office of Special Events for the City of Chicago

President William J. Clinton selected her to be on his 2008 Clinton Global Initiative delegation team which traveled to Africa and Mexico.  Former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, selected Dyson to be on the Women’s Global Summit Leadership board in 2007.

Rev. Dyson serves on many advisory boards including: Washington Redskins football player Chris Samuels Foundation, which provides housing to single mothers; Sanctuary of Moses, a non-profit concerned with education and child trafficking in Benin, Africa; Rhythm of Hope, a cultural outreach program for poor children in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; and is on the executive board of the World Mayor’s Conference whose primary objective is to stimulate positive and constructive relations between mayors internationally. She is also the Ambassador at Large for the Middle East Peace Civic Forum, an Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution organization.

The Rev. Dyson is also the national spokesperson for the Congressional Black Caucus’ universal healthcare bill, HR676 and was selected to be a faith member and advocate of Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Project. 

The Rev. Dyson is busy at work on several books, including a novel entitled Don’t Call Me Angel that explores the spiritual development of an African-American woman, as well as the cultural and racial elements of the ’60s and ’70s; and, The Women Who Would Be King: Female Socio-Civic Activists.

The Rev. Dyson is a Presidential Scholar at Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C.  In addition, she is a contributor to Essence Magazine, womensradio.com, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Brain Trusters’ New Deal 2.0 blog site, and theroot.com (published by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Harvard University) where she addresses issues concerning race, gender inequality, international and national concerns.  

The Rev. Dyson is currently an affiliate with the Center for Social Justice, Research, Teaching and Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.  She is represented by the American Program Bureau.

Michael Eric Dyson

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is an American Book Award recipient and two-time NAACP Image Award winner. He is one of the nation’s most influential and renowned public intellectuals and has been named one of the 150 most powerful African Americans by Ebony magazine. The Philadelphia Weekly contends that Dr. Dyson “is reshaping what it means to be a public intellectual by becoming the most visible black academic of his time.”

Dr. Dyson’s pioneering scholarship has had a profound effect 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. Dr. 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, his 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. Dr. Dyson’s 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. His book, The New York Times best-selling 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.” His most recent book, Can You Hear Me Now? The Inspiration, Wisdom, and Insight of Michael Eric Dyson, offers a sampling of his sharp wit, profound thought, and edifying eloquence on the enduring problems of humanity, from love to justice, and the latest topics of the day, including race and the presidency. It is both revealing and relevant, and at once thoughtful provoking and uplifting.

Dr. Dyson has taught at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities – including Brown, Chapel Hill, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania. His influence has carried far beyond the academy into prisons and bookstores, political conventions and union halls, and church sanctuaries and lecture stages across the world.

Dr. Dyson 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” – and he has cemented his star appeal on such shows as “Rap City,” “Def Poetry Jam” and “The Colbert Report.” He is also a contributing editor to Time magazine.

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.” Dr. 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.”

Dr. Dyson is presently University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. 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 him “a street fighter in suit and tie.”