Texas Tech University

LeVar Burton, Wes Moore to Speak for African-American History Lecture Series

Amanda Castro-Crist

January 25, 2017


The lectures will focus on the cultural significance of African-Americans to society and how attendees can use their skills and talents to make an impact on the world.

LeVar Burton
LeVar Burton

The Texas Tech University Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement welcomes actor, author and literacy advocate LeVar Burton and acclaimed author and entrepreneur Wes Moore as part of the 2017 African-American History Month Lecture Series.

Burton will deliver his lecture, "The Value of Diversity,” on Feb. 7. Moore's speech, "A Call to Action,” will take place Feb. 16. Both lectures will begin at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Building's Allen Theatre.

"Each speaker will use his life's stories and experiences to address the cultural significance of African-Americans to society and to inspire those in attendance to use their gifts, their skills and their talents to make a positive impact on the world,” said Cory Powell, director of Mentor Tech.

The events are free and open to the public, but space is limited. Tickets can be picked up prior to the lecture, are limited to two per person and are available in Doak Hall, Room 101 on a first-come, first-serve basis. Any unclaimed seats on the day of the lecture will be made available to others at 6:45 p.m.

Wes Moore
Wes Moore

Burton began his career at age 19 when he was cast in the groundbreaking role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark television series "Roots.” In 1986, he began portraying chief engineer Geordi La Forge in the iconic "Star Trek: The Next Generation” television series and feature films. 

"Mr. Burton's lecture will include references to his television experience across several decades,” Powell said. "He will address the important contributions African-Americans have made to communities around the world.”

From 1983 to 2009, Burton served as host and executive producer of one of the longest-running and most acclaimed children's television shows in history. "Reading Rainbow,” a PBS series, ran for 23 seasons and earned more than 200 awards, including 26 Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award. Burton also received 12 Emmy Awards for his work on the show.

Since 2012, Burton has spearheaded what he refers to as "Reading Rainbow 2.0.” He and business partner Mark Wolfe have launched the No. 1 educational iPad app and the online educational services Reading Rainbow Skybrary School and Skybrary Family with the intent of raising American literacy rates.

Moore, a veteran and former Rhodes Scholar and White House Fellow, has dedicated his life to social justice. He has written three books, two of which have gone on to become New York Times Bestsellers – "The Other Wes Moore” and "The Work” – and a young adult novel, "This Way Home.”

"The Other Wes Moore” also has been adapted into a young adult novel and tells the story of how the mentors and support system in his life kept him from the trap of crime and drugs. "The Work” is his most recent book and focuses on the experiences that have led Moore to his passions and purposes and the ways to use those to change the world.

"Mr. Moore will share his life experiences and the power of choice,” Powell said. "He'll also deliver a call to action for everyone in attendance to do their part to make an impact on society.”

Moore is the founder and CEO of BridgeEdU, a program aimed at reinventing the freshman year to engage students. In addition to sharing his story with live audiences around the world, Moore has been featured in USA Today, Time and People magazines, and on Meet the Press, The Colbert Report, MSNBC, NPR and many other outlets. He is currently the host of Beyond Belief on the Oprah Winfrey Network and serves as executive producer and host of PBS's Coming Back with Wes Moore.

The African-American History Month Lecture Series is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost and the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement. Burton's lecture is co-sponsored by the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts.

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