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Melissa  Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry

Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University, Professor & Writer


Professor Melissa Harris-Perry is the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair in the Department of Politics and International Affairs, the Department of Women and Gender Studies, and the Program in Environment and Sustainability at Wake Forest University. There she teaches courses on American politics at the intersections of race, place, and gender. Read More >

Melissa serves as host and managing editor of The Takeaway, a daily, national public radio program and podcast distributed by WNYC and PRX. Professor Harris-Perry is founder and president of the Anna Julia Cooper Center, whose mission is to advance justice through intersectional scholarship and action. And along with Dorian Warren, Harris-Perry is co-creator and co-host of The Takeaway’s special project Deep Dives with MHP and Dorian and the podcast System Check.

She is the author of the award-winning Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, and Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America.

From 2012-2016, she hosted the television show “Melissa Harris-Perry” on weekend mornings on MSNBC and was awarded the Hillman Prize for broadcast journalism. She served as editor-at-large for Elle.com and for ZORA. She continues to serve as contributing editor for The Nation.

Professor Harris-Perry is an award-winning author and sought after public speaker, lecturing widely throughout the United States and abroad. Harris-Perry received her B.A. degree in English from Wake Forest University and her Ph.D. degree in political science from Duke University. She studied theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Harris-Perry previously served on the faculty of the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and Tulane University. Professor Harris-Perry has been awarded honorary degrees from many universities including Meadville Lombard Theological School, Winston-Salem State University, Eckerd College, New York University, and Ithaca College.

Melissa serves on several boards and award committees and is a trustee of The Century Foundation, The Next 100 and The Markup.

She and her family live in North Carolina. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Honoring Black History

Speech Topics

Centering Black Women in the American Story

American Elections: Entering 2022 & Understanding 2020

Race, Class, Gender & Activism in American Higher Education

Queering the Colorline: Race, Sexuality & American Politics

Representation: Power, Resistance & Media in American Politics

*Please note Professor Harris-Perry always develops unique lectures for each speaking engagement based on the needs and goals of the event.