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Melissa  Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry

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

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, the African American Studies Program, and the Program in Environment and Sustainability at Wake Forest University. There she conducts research and teaches courses on American politics at the intersections of gender, race, and place.

Melissa served as the final host and managing editor of The Takeaway, a daily, national public radio program and podcast, which aired on over 300 public radio stations across the country. 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.

Professor Harris-Perry is founder and president of the Anna Julia Cooper Center, whose mission is to advance justice through intersectional scholarship and action. 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 many governing boards and committees. She is a trustee of The Century Foundation, The Next 100 and The Markup.

She and her family live in North Carolina.

Speaker Videos

Meltzer Center Launch Celebration - A Conversation with Professor Melissa Harris Perry

Honoring Black History

2024 Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Celebration- An Evening with Melissa Harris-Perry

Inspiring Black Women in Academia, Politics & Beyond

Honoring Juneteenth: Resilience, Reflection & Joy with Melissa Harris-Perry | DreamBank

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.