Speaking to the World
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Public Intellectual & Best-Selling Author
Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is the Centennial Chair at Vanderbilt University and serves as University Distinguished Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies in the College of Arts and Science and University Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Society in the Divinity School. He is also a New York Times contributing opinion writer, and a contributing editor of The New Republic, and of ESPN's The Undefeated website. His rise from humble roots in Detroit to his present perch as a world class intellectual, noted author of 21 books, prominent leader and national media fixture testify to his extraordinary talent. Dyson has also taught at other elite universities like Georgetown University as a sociology professor, Brown University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Columbia University and The University of Pennsylvania. Read More >
Dr. Dyson has won many prestigious honors, including an American Book Award and two NAACP Image Awards. Ebony magazine cited him as one of the 100 most influential African Americans, and as one of the 150 most powerful blacks in the nation.
Dyson's influence has spread far beyond the academy in his roles of renowned orator, highly sought-after lecturer, and ordained Baptist minister. For the last quarter of a century, Dyson has also enlivened public debate across the media landscape on every major television and radio show in the country, from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to Real Time with Bill Maher, from Good Morning America to The Today Show, from NPR's All Things Considered to its Talk of the Nation, from the Tavis Smiley Show to Def Poetry Jam, from This Week with George Stephanopoulos to Meet the Press, and Face the Nation -- and several programs on ESPN.
Dyson’s pioneering scholarship has had a profound effect on American ideas. His 1994 book Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X, was named one of the most important African American books of the 20th century and was also named a "Notable Book of the year" by the New York Times. According to book industry bible Publisher’s Weekly, Dyson’s 2001 book, Holler if You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur, helped to make books on hip hop commercially viable.
Dyson’s recent book, Entertaining Race: Performing Blackness in America, is a testament to Dyson’s consistent celebration of the outsized impact of African American culture and politics on this country. His other book, JAY-Z: Made in America, was named one of Washington Post’s 50 notable works of nonfiction in 2019. Dyson shares the impact Jay-Z has on America with his rapping and how he used his poetic talent to weave politics in his music, making important statements on race and social injustice. Dyson's eloquent writing has inspired Vanity Fair magazine to describe him as "one of the most graceful and lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today." And Dyson’s 2005 New York Times bestseller Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? helped to jump start a national conversation on the black poor. Dyson’s book, the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, has been described by The New York Times as "an interpretive miracle." It was a finalist for the prestigious 2016 Kirkus Prize. Dyson's book, the widely praised New York Times bestseller Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, has been described by the New York Times as "One of the most frank and searing discussions on race ... a deeply serious, urgent book, which should take its place in the tradition of Baldwin's The Fire Next Time and King's Why We Can't Wait. Dyson’s other book, What Truth Sounds Like: RFK, James Baldwin and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America, has been called by Kirkus “an incisive look at the roles of politicians, artists, intellectuals, and activists in confronting racial injustice and effecting change,” and an “eloquent response to an urgent – and still-unresolved – dilemma.”
Dyson's legendary ascent – from welfare father to Princeton Ph.D., from church pastor to college professor, from a factory worker who didn’t start college until he was 21 -- may help explain why writer Naomi Wolf terms him “the ideal public intellectual of our time." Read Less ^
on 2020 Candidates| The View
On His New Book and Colin Kaepernick | The View
Reckoning With Race and Racism in America
Democracy in Troubled Times
On the Today Show
Dr. Dyson Raps
On Trump Nationalism
While America has made strides towards true equality amongst varying ethnic groups, there are still some glaring disparities. Recent events, including the arrest of Henry Gates Jr. in his own home, serve as a reminder that racial profiling still exists. Not only does profiling degrade entire groups of people, but it stifles growth and perpetuates negative stereotypes. Read More >
In his keynote speech, "In Caricature: Racial Profiling and its Impact on Black America," public intellectual and best-selling author Michael Eric Dyson will answer three central questions surrounding racial profiling and its impact on minority communities: Read Less ^
"Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is truly a great orator and scholar. Visiting our Rider University campus virtually brought him to life up close and personal, so much so, that the audience was riveted by every word he said and every lyric he recited or sang. He was captivating and thoughtful; provocative, while emanating humor, thus adding a light-heartedness to the seriousness of his message on social justice, resilience, and hope. The audience was able to grasp the essence of his talk through the myriad and entertaining ways of his delivery."
"Dr. Dyson’s talk was grounded in his public school days in Detroit and years of advocating for better educational experiences for students of color. His presence and presentation was all-encompassing and included a diagnosis of what we need to do to remedy America’s public school system. Absolutely phenomenal and would love to have him connect with our student and scholarly community again!"
"The event was wonderful—Dr. Dyson brought the house down and we sold out. We are very pleased with all he did, including spending an enormous amount of time with the students and all he came in contact with. He was very easy going and personable and we’ve never had so many compliments. He was amazing and we all had a wonderful time. Many thanks to you and your staff for working this out for us."
"Dr. Dyson’s appearance was everything we could hope for. He was generous with his time, engaging with faculty, staff, and students throughout the day. His keynote presentation was vivid and engaging—he spoke with conviction about numerous social issues, calling us not only to awareness of the world around us but to introspection as well. His speech left a lasting impression on us; thank you to Dr. Dyson for his incredible contribution to the intellectual, philosophical, and cultural atmospheres of our campus."
"Dr. Dyson’s presentation was simply fantastic and more than satisfied the goals we set for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Address. The campus community is still abuzz over Dyson’s visit and students continue to share with staff how his message resonated with them."
"Dr. Dyson's lecture at the 2006 CUMU Conference was a huge success. The majority of the CUMU leadership, as well as many of the 200+ participants from universities from throughout the US, complimented favorably on Dr. Dyson's lecture. His talk was fast moving, serious and profound yet at the same time entertaining, had a certain poetic and rhythmic intonation, and he approached the topic of diversity in urban universities in a unique manner."
“We just wanted to say, thank you all for your time, effort and support to make our 2020 MLK event a great success! Dr. Dyson was a remarkable keynote speaker and working with your team made coordination with him an absolute pleasure.”
"Dr. Dyson was an absolute gem, not only in terms of his talk (which was awe-inspiring, and lived up to all expectations), but also in his personal interactions with each and every person he encountered at our college. We had a magnificent visit with him."
"Thank you so much for assisting us with the event. I could not have been more pleased with Dr. Dyson's talk. He was remarkable. I have received numerous calls and emails saying that Evansville could not have a better night. What a human being he is. Again, thank you to you and your staff for making this happen."
"Your presentation was instrumental in the success of the convention. Your willingness to share your body of knowledge with us is a true testament of your commitment to service. Thank you for your informative and memorable presentation which provided a wealth of information for those in attendance. We are certain that members returned to their communities inspired and even more ready to serve."
"Dr. Dyson was outstanding! We had an idea about what to expect in regards to the quality and impact of his remarks – and he certainly delivered. What made it so wonderful is how warm he was the members of our community. He was always willing to talk with and take pictures with anyone who showed an interest. Often times he would take the time afforded to him for breaks to continue to engage with members of our community. His level of availability was wholly unexpected, but it made our event far better than we could have hoped."
Entertaining Race: Performing Blackness in America
Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America
What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America
The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America
Goodbye to Freddie Gray and Goodbye to Quietly Accepting Injustice
What does Michael Brown's shooting say about race in America?
Dyson Explores How MLK's Death Changed America
Watch Nas and Scholar Michael Eric Dyson Talk About "Illmatic" and the Current State of Hip-Hop at Georgetown University
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