Texas Tech University

Speakers Announced for 2018 African-American History Month Lecture Series

Amanda Castro-Crist

February 23, 2018

Advocate and author Anita Hill and two-time NAACP Image Award winner Michael Eric Dyson will lecture on the cultural significance of African-Americans to society.

The Texas Tech University Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DDEI) welcomes advocate, author and professor Anita Hill, and author and two-time NAACP Image Award winner Michael Eric Dyson as part of the 2018 African-American History Month Lecture Series.

“An Evening with Anita Hill” will take place on Feb. 15. Dyson's speech, “Race, Racism, & Race Relations in America,” will take place Feb. 26. Both lectures will begin at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Building's Allen Theatre.

“This lecture series has been instrumental in providing a platform for nationally recognized African-American scholars and advocates to share their experiences and expertise related to some of the most pressing issues facing our nation,” said Paul Frazier, associate vice president for the division.

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

Events planned around Hill's visit include free screenings of the documentary “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power” at 4 p.m. on Feb. 5, and 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Feb 12 in the Student Union Building's Escondido Theatre.

Another screening at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 11 at Alamo Drafthouse will feature a short lecture and post-film discussion with School of Law professors Wendy Ross and Kyle Velte. This screening is sponsored by Alamo Drafthouse, the International Film Series, DDEI, Risk Intervention & Safety Education (RISE) and the Women's & Gender Studies program. Tickets are $5.

The Women's & Gender Studies program also will lead a Twitter chat Feb. 16 as part of its Women of Black History events calendar.

Anita Hill
Anita Hill

Anita Hill

Born in rural Oklahoma as the youngest of 13 children, Hill received her juris doctorate from Yale Law School in 1980. She began her career in Washington, D.C., first in private practice and then at the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In 1989, she became the first African-American to receive tenure at the University of Oklahoma College Of Law.

Hill is known for her groundbreaking advocacy work that has helped raise nationwide awareness of sexual harassment. Her work led to the passage of legislation that allows sexual harassment victims to seek damage awards in addition to back pay and reinstatement.    

“This is an amazing opportunity for our young women to see that women in academia can be successful and empowered even in the face of adversity,” said Kristina Mitchell, director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Political Science. “Anita Hill was one of the first women to stand and say, ‘Time's Up' for sexual harassment, and I hope our students, both men and women, can learn from her courage and her passionate support of women's rights.”

Hill currently serves as a professor of social policy, law and women's studies at Brandeis University and as counsel with the law firm Cohen Milstein, where she advises on class-action workplace discrimination cases. She has written two books, her biography, “Speaking Truth to Power,” and “Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race and Finding Home.” She also has been published by numerous news outlets, including Newsweek, The New York Times and the Boston Globe, and has appeared on several national television programs, including “Good Morning America,” Meet the Press” and NBC's “Today Show”.  

Hill chaired the Human Rights Law Committee of the International Bar Association, and has served on the Board of Governors of the Tufts Medical Center, the National Women's Law Center and the Boston Area Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. She also recently was chosen by Hollywood executives to chair the newly formed Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace.

Michael Eric Dyson
Michael Eric Dyson

Michael Eric Dyson

Born in Detroit, Dyson became an ordained Baptist minister at age 19. He worked in factories to support his family before starting college at 21, then went on to receive master's and doctorate degrees from Princeton University.

Dyson currently serves as a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, where he received widespread attention in 2011 for his course “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z.” He has taught at several other well-known institutions, including Brown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Columbia University, and has been named one of the 150 most powerful African-Americans by Ebony Magazine, called a “superstar professor” by The Washington Post and referred to as “one of the most graceful and lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today” by Vanity Fair.

Cory Powell, director of the The Lauro Cavazos & Ophelia Powell-Malone Mentoring Program (Mentor Tech), said this will be Dyson's second visit to Texas Tech. Dyson served as the speaker for the annual Mentor Tech Celebration Banquet in 2009.

“He has a unique ability to frame historical importance with the urgent necessity of present action to ensure a brighter future,” Powell said. “Considering recent events and the current conversations regarding race, equality and equity, I am certain he will challenge all in attendance to take a stand.”

Dyson has appeared on numerous news shows, including “Nightline,” “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “The Colbert Report.” He also hosted his own hour-long news and talk show on NPR, “The Michael Eric Dyson Show.”

He has published numerous books, including the 2007 American Book Award winner and 2007 NAACP Image Award nominee “Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster,” the 2006 NAACP Image Award winner “Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?” and the 2004 NAACP Image Award winner “Why I Love Black Women.”

Dyson's most recent book, “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America,” is a New York Times, Publisher's Weekly and Washington Post bestseller and has been hailed as a profound and provocative analysis of modern-day race relations. 

About the African-American History Month Lecture Series

The African-American History Month Lecture Series is in its sixth year and is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost and the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, along with numerous other Texas Tech entities.

“The goal of the lecture series is to introduce the Texas Tech and Lubbock communities to talented and accomplished African-Americans who have had a significant impact in their community, career and the world,” said Nathaniel Wright, chairman of the African-American History Month Lecture Series planning committee. “Moreover, the series represents Texas Tech's strong commitment to present lectures and forums that speak to pertinent issues facing the African-American community and is a good opportunity for Texas Tech to help shape those conversations now.”

Past speakers include:

  • Wes Moore, acclaimed author and entrepreneur
  • Harry Belafonte, iconic entertainer and activist
  • Cornel West, public intellectual and activist
  • Angela Davis, a social activist and professor
  • Henry Louis Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University

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