Panel Discusses: Where Is The Race Dialog In America Going?
WHERE IS THE RACE DIALOGUE IN AMERICA GOING?
TWO YEARS AFTER OBAMA’S A MORE PERFECT UNION SPEECH,
CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS RETURN
TO THE NATIONALCONSTITUTIONCENTER
Philadelphia, PA – On the two-year anniversary of then-Senator Barack Obama’s pivotal campaign speech, A More Perfect Union, Martin Luther King, III, Founding President and CEO of Realizing the Dream, Inc., Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week," and Thomas J. Sugrue, David Boies Professor of History and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, will join the National Constitution Center for an open dialogue on race, moderated by Charles A. Williams III, assistant clinical professor and director of the Center for the Prevention of School-Aged Violence at Drexel University. Before joining the panel, Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO of UNCF (the United Negro College Fund), will begin the conversation with a presentation proposing that education leads America’s racial priorities.
The event will take place from the very stage where Obama’s speech was delivered at the NationalConstitutionCenter, on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are required and can be made by calling 215.409.6700.
The Center will continue the conversation started by President Obama’s challenge to navigate the complexities of race in order to create a “more perfect Union,” and will address both the hopeful evidence of racial progress and the dismaying signs of intractable racism in American society. A reminder of Obama’s call towards a better future, the original signed copy of his speech is on display in the Center’s main exhibition, The Story of We the People.
As president and CEO of UNCF, Dr. Michael L. Lomax heads the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. Through its member colleges and universities, scholarship programs and advocacy activities, UNCF, under Lomax’s leadership, has worked to combat inequality for low income students of color and overcome educational inequity. Lomax joined UNCF after serving for seven years as president of DillardUniversity in New Orleans. Prior to that, he spent 30 years in public service and academia, serving as the first African American chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners for 12 years. He also served as an assistant to then-Mayor Maynard Jackson and as the first head of Atlanta’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs. Lomax has taught literature at MorehouseCollege, SpelmanCollege, and the University of Georgia. He is a trustee of EmoryUniversity, a member of the Council of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture, and a member of the Boards of Directors of Teach for America. He was appointed to the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities by President George W. Bush.
Martin Luther King, III, the second oldest child of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, serves as the Founding President and CEO of Realizing the Dream, Inc., a national nonprofit organization with an international vision to carry on the important work embodied in the legacies of his parents. King has launched a series of innovative initiatives through Realizing the Dream, such as Poverty in America – a national poverty tour aimed at empowering disadvantaged communities – and the Generation II Global Peace Program, which brings together the heirs of 20th century peace makers – such as Chavez, Gandhi, Trudeau, Tutu – to address some of the world’s most compelling crises. A human rights advocate, community activist, and political leader, King has been actively involved in significant policy initiatives to maintain the fair and equitable treatment of all peoples, at home and abroad. Having been nurtured among individuals deeply committed to the struggle for human rights and a nonviolent society, his messages and initiatives are all rooted within the tenets of Kingian nonviolent conflict resolution.
Gwen Ifill is moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week" and senior correspondent for "The PBS Newshour." She is also the best-selling author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Ifill reports on a wide range of issues, from foreign affairs to U.S. politics and policies, interviewing national and international newsmakers. She has covered six presidential campaigns and moderated two vice presidential debates – in 2004, the debate between Republican Dick Cheney and Democrat John Edwards, and in 2008, the debate between Democratic Senator Joe Biden and Republican Governor Sarah Palin.
Historian, author, and critic Thomas J. Sugrue is a specialist in twentieth-century American politics, urban history, civil rights, and race. His forthcoming book, Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race, will be published by Princeton University Press in 2010. Sugrue's most recent book, Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North, was selected as a Main Selection of the History Book Club and a finalist for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His first book, The Origins of the Urban Crisis, won the Bancroft Prize in American History, the Philip Taft
Prize in Labor History, the President's Book Award of the Social Science History Association, and the Urban History Association Award for Best Book in North American Urban History. Sugrue is the author of dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters, and is a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Boston Globe, among others.
Charles A. Williams III is the former co-host of The Grimaldi & Williams Show on CBS Radio's Big Talker 1210 AM. He has written editorials for both the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News on issues such as crime, race, and politics. Recently, he served as moderator for the PA Progressive Summit's 2010 debate between Senator Arlen Specter (D) and Rep. Joe Sestak (D). He is currently an assistant clinical professor and director of the Center for the Prevention of School-Aged Violence at DrexelUniversity.
This program is part of the Knight Constitutional Conversation series, which has been generously underwritten by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and
invests in the vitality of the U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
The National Constitution Center, located at 525 Arch St. on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the ideas and values it represents. The Center serves as a museum, an education center, and a forum for debate on constitutional issues. The museum dramatically tells the story of the Constitution from Revolutionary times to the present through more than 100 interactive, multimedia exhibits, film, photographs, text, sculpture and artifacts, and features a powerful, award-winning theatrical performance, “Freedom Rising.” The Center also houses the AnnenbergCenter for Education and Outreach, which serves as the hub for national constitutional education. Also, as a nonpartisan forum for constitutional discourse, the Center presents – without endorsement – programs that contain diverse viewpoints on a broad range of issues. For more information, call 215.409.6700 or visit www.constitutioncenter.org.
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