Michael Eric Dyson
Signature Lecture Series
It's All in the Numbers: The 99 Percent Occupiers, the 47 Percent Victims, The 14 Percent Unemployed, The 1st Mormon Candidate, the 44th President and the 2012 Elections
October 9, 2011
Author, activist, and MSNBC political commentator Michael Eric Dyson was the Wilson College Signature Lecture Series speaker on October 9, 2012 .
His talk was entitled "It's All in the Numbers: The 99 Percent Occupiers, the 47 Percent Victims, The 14 Percent Unemployed, The 1st Mormon Candidate, the 44th President and the 2012 Elections” and was co-sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the Center for African American Studies, and the Wilson College Signature Series.
Dyson's background is unusual for a scholar: a Detroit gang member and unwed father in his late teens, he turned himself around and became an ordained Baptist minister at age 21. He earned a bachelor's degree from Carson-Newman College in 1982, then went on top get a master's (1991) and a PhD (1993) from Princeton.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, and author of the 2007 book Know What I Mean: Reflections on Hip-Hop, Michael Eric Dyson is the professor, commentator and "hip-hop intellectual" who has written over a dozen books on race, politics, and the African-American experience. His books Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcom X (1994) and Between God and Gangsta Rap (1995) established him as a heavy hitter in African American thought, and he became a sought-after commentator on radio and TV. He tangled with comedian Bill Cosby in Is Bill Cosby Right? (2006), and his 2007 book Know What I Mean: Reflections on Hip-Hop came with an introduction by rapper Jay-Z. Dyson has taught at a long string of schools: the Chicago Theological Seminary (1989-92), Brown University (1993-95), the University of North Carolina (1995-97), Columbia University (1997-99), DePaul (as the first Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor, 1999-2002), the University of Pennsylvania (as the Avalon Professor of Humanities, 2002-07) and at Georgetown University (teaching English, theology, and African American studies, 2007- ). His biographies of leading black figures include Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Love and Demons of Marvin Gaye (2004) and April 4, 1968, his 2008 reflection on the death of Martin Luther King.