Michael Eric Dyson Speech to Kick Off Black Alumni Weekend

Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 1:52 pm

Noted scholar and media commentator Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, will deliver his speech, “Race, Racism, and Race Relations in America,” at 7:30 p.m. April 4 at Herrick Chapel.

“A few members of Concerned Black Students had the chance to see Dr. Dyson talk last year, and it really resonated with them,” says Shaquall Brown ’15, a Concerned Black Students board member, who was instrumental in bringing Dyson to Grinnell. “They said we needed to have Dr. Dyson speak on our campus.”

Described in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education as “a Princeton Ph.D. and a child of the streets who takes pains to never separate the two,” Dyson is an academic, author, and radio host, specializing in race relations and black American culture, music, and history.

He also appears frequently as a commentator on National Public Radio and CNN and as a political analyst for MSNBC. He’s an award-winning author or editor of 18 books, including biographies of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., singer Marvin Gaye, and rapper Tupac Shakur.

Brown, a sociology major from Chicago, Ill., who began following Dyson on Twitter, says she hopes Dyson’s speech helps expand conversations about diversity on campus.  

“I constantly saw him on MSNBC and thought he was a phenomenal intellectual,” Brown says.

Dyson earned his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Carson-Newman College in 1985, and also has master’s and Ph.D. degrees in religion from Princeton University.

Dyson's talk will be held during Black Alumni Weekend. Several College offices, departments, and programs helped sponsored the event, which is free and open to the public.