PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Noted broadcaster and author Tavis Smiley will deliver the Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture at Brown University on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010, at 5 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching, De Ciccio Family Auditorium. His talk is free and open to the public.
Smiley is the host of the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International. He has written 14 books, including his memoir, What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, which was a New York Times best-seller. His most recent book, Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise, published last year, examines issues America faces and addresses how political leaders, corporations and, finally, American citizens themselves can enforce accountability and cause change.
Beginning this year, Smiley will go on the road to examine some of the country’s defining moments in a primetime television special, Tavis Smiley Reports. The episodes will include going behind the scenes with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, examining one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s greatest speeches, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” and walking the streets of New Orleans to mark Hurricane Katrina’s fifth anniversary.
In 2007, Smiley was moderator and executive producer of the All-American Presidential Forums on PBS, the first Democratic and Republican presidential debates broadcast live in prime time with a panel exclusively composed of non-white journalists.
Last year, Smiley released Stand, his first documentary film, which he directed, wrote and produced. The film shares the experiences of Smiley and 10 black male friends during a special road trip through Memphis and Nashville. The friends explore the impact of the civil rights movement and the role and relationships of black men in America against the backdrop of the 2008 presidential race and the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.
In addition to his work in the media and film, Smiley is engaged in social and philanthropic activities. He is the presenter and creative force behind America I AM: The African American Imprint. The exhibition celebrates the impact of African American contributions to America and the world, as told through rare artifacts, memorabilia and multimedia. The exhibit debuted in January 2009 and will tour the country for four years.
Smiley’s nonprofit organization, Tavis Smiley Foundation, provides leadership training and development for youth. Since its inception, more than 6,000 young people have participated in the foundation’s Youth to Leaders training workshops and conferences. His communications company, The Smiley Group, Inc., is dedicated to supporting human rights and related empowerment issues and serves as the holding company for various enterprises encompassing broadcast and print media, lectures, symposiums and the Internet.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture
The Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture was established at Brown University in 1996, with former New York Mayor David Dinkins as the inaugural speaker. Past lecturers have included best-selling author Cornel West; Hugh B. Price, president and CEO of the National Urban League; Angela Davis, social activist an educator; Lee Mun Wah, community therapist, poet and filmmaker; Johnnetta B. Cole, professor emerita of Emory University and president emerita of Spelman College; Randall Kennedy, professor of law at Harvard Law School; Michael Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund; and Chicana activist and author Elizabeth Martinez.
For more information, please contact the Office of University Events at (401) 863-2474.