Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC’s The Melissa Harris-Perry Show, professor of political science at Tulane University, and acclaimed author, will deliver the University’s 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address on Thursday, Jan. 17. The free talk begins at 6 p.m. in Strong Auditorium on the River Campus.
As a political analyst, Harris-Perry brings an expertise in the study of African-American politics, gender and politics, U.S. public opinion and elections, and political psychology to the address. She will discuss topics including how racial issues, religious questions, and gender concerns relate to American politics.
“Among the range of topics and projects Dr. Harris-Perry brings to her television audiences, is the segment titled ‘Foot Soldiers,’ in which she pays special tribute to activists who make selfless contributions to their communities,” says Norman Burnett, dean and director of the Office of Minority Student Affairs and chair of the College Diversity Roundtable. “These individuals perform heroically, under the radar without recognition or acclaim, and it is in this traditional spirit of acknowledging the social justice acts of others that makes it fitting for Dr. Harris-Perry to join us in celebrating Dr. King’s legacy.”
In addition to hosting her show, which airs from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays on MSNBC, Harris-Perry writes the monthly column, “Sister Citizen,” for The Nation and provides expert commentary on Politics Nation with Reverend Al Sharpton, The Rachel Maddow Show, and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, among other MSNBC shows. She is a regular guest on Sharpton’s Keeping it Real Radio, and also provides commentary for many print and radio sources in the United States and abroad.
Harris-Perry is a professor of political science at Tulane University, where she is founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South, a project that investigates how gender and race intersect to shape women’s politics in the South.
In her latest book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (Yale 2011), Harris-Perry argues that persistent harmful stereotypes—invisible to many but painfully familiar to black women—profoundly shape black women’s politics, contribute to policies that treat them unfairly, and make it difficult for black women to assert their rights in the political arena. Her first book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, won the 2005 W. E. B. Du Bois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and the 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.
The annual address, which kicks off the University’s Black History Month celebration by recognizing the legacy and influence of King’s life, is cosponsored by the College Diversity Roundtable and the Office of the President.