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Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Features Michael Eric Dyson Jan 29

By Erika Mantz, Media Relations
January 16, 2008

Michael Eric Dyson, social analyst, hip-hop intellectual, ordained minister, radio commentator, bestselling author and Georgetown University professor, is the keynote speaker at UNH’s 18th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration January 24–30. This week-long celebration based on the theme “Holler if you hear me: Race, Culture and, Democracy” will focus on King's work for a free and just democracy.

Dyson, a prominent African American scholar, has been named by Essence magazine as one of the 40 most inspiring African-Americans and by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 most influential black Americans. He has been nominated for the prestigious NAACP Image Award three times – and has won it twice.

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

Dyson has also taken the media by storm through appearances on “The Today Show,” “ABC News Nightline,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Real Time with Bill Maher” – and he has galvanized star appeal on such shows as “Rap City,” “Def Poetry Jam” and “The Colbert Report.” Dyson is also the host of the syndicated radio show, The Michael Eric Dyson Show, which addresses social, cultural and political issues in a contemporary vein.

Dyson’s scholarship has won him legions of admirers and 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.” Vanity Fair magazine has described him as “one of the most graceful and lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today.”

Dyson will deliver his keynote address, “Dr. King for the 21st Century”, on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. in Johnson Theatre at the Paul Creative Arts Center. Dyson’s talk will present a King far more radical than the one trotted out for mainstream consumption on the third Monday of every January.

“We must rebel,” he says, “against the varieties of amnesia that compete to reduce King to an icon for the status quo or a puppet of civil and social order.”

In addition to Dyson’s address, the event will feature African drumming and dance, spoken word presentation, and a step performance by Dartmouth College Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. A reception and book signing with Dyson will follow the presentation.

Other events honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. at UNH include:
Jan.24, 6 p.m., Memorial Union Building- photo art exhibit

“In Search of Democracy: A Refugee Story” introduces seven refugee families who came to New Hampshire in search of a more secure union and the ideals put forth by democracy: All people are created equal and have the right to security, liberty, prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness. Photos were done by students from UNH, McIntosh College, and the New Hampshire Institute of Art.

Jan.27, 4 p.m., St. Georges Episcopal Church, downtown Durham- spiritual celebration

“Soul and Spirit of Democracy” - An inter-faith celebration that affirms, supports, and highlights the spiritual foundation that Martin Luther King, Jr. brought to his work and life. This is a spirited gathering with a message through song, drumming, Chautauqua presentations, music, poetry, dance, words and candle lighting.

Jan.29, 12:30 p.m., Strafford Room, Memorial Union Building- education panel

“The Rap on Democracy: Culture, Power, and Social Change” will examine King’s radical legacy through the politics of rap, woman-centered politics at UNH, and political work in the New Hampshire legislature and Nigerian elections. Panelists include Michael Eric Dyson, UNH history professor Harvard Sitkoff, The Honorable Jackie Weatherspoon and UNH student Cait Vaughan.

Jan.31, noon, Granite State Room, Memorial Union Building-Student Activism Fair

The Act Now Campus Activism Fair seeks to not only raise awareness around the global plight of refugee and immigrant populations--particularly those resettling in the local area-- but also to provide student and community activists the chance to explore a range of service opportunities that are in direct support of the refugee and immigrant populations of New Hampshire.

All events are free and open to the public. Parking is free after 6 p.m. and on weekends. For updated information about the events visit: http://www.unh.edu/diversity/mlk_celebration.html or call JerriAnne Boggis at 2-0693. Call 2-0693 for information about accessibility.

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