This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Book discussions set around Dyson visit

Facilitated sessions planned in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. event

Published: March 3, 2005

Assistant Vice President

Public group discussions of three books authored by Michael Eric Dyson are being planned in conjunction with his appearance as keynote speaker at UB's upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration event.

A best-selling author and frequent media commentator who was named by Essence magazine as one of the "50 Most Inspiring African Americans," Dyson will speak at 8 p.m. April 7 in the Center for the Arts, North Campus, as part of the 18th annual Distinguished Speakers Series.

Dyson is Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In his research, which focuses on race, religion, popular culture and contemporary crises facing the African-American community, he sometimes employs a new genre of scholarship, which he calls bio-criticism—the fusion of social and cultural criticism and biographical analysis.

An ordained Baptist minister who earned a doctorate in religion from Princeton University, Dyson writes a monthly column for Savoy magazine, is a contributing editor at Christian Century and is a contributor for Vibe magazine. He has received awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and the NAACP. Before all of his success, he was a teen father and factory worker in his native Detroit.

UB's Minority Faculty and Staff Association, lecture sponsor for the program, has scheduled three sessions to which university and community members are invited to discuss books authored by Dyson. Working with the Office of Special Events and the University Bookstore, two affiliate sponsors of the Distinguished Speakers Series, it has selected three of Dyson's books and is inviting the members of the university community and the public to read one or all three and then attend discussion sessions facilitated by members of the association.

The books and discussion sessions are:

  • "Why I Love Black Women," discussion at 6 p.m., March 22 in 107 Clemens Hall, North Campus, facilitated by Letitia Thomas Rogers, director of Cora P. Maloney College.

  • "Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur," discussion at 6 p.m., March 23 in 107 Clemens, facilitated by John Staley, assistant vice provost for faculty affairs.

  • "I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.," discussion at 6 p.m., March 24 in 107 Clemens, facilitated by Denise Hare, senior counselor in the Educational Opportunity Program and president of the Minority Faculty and Staff Association.

The three books may be purchased at the University Bookstore on Lee Road, North Campus. Those purchasing one of the books at the bookstore will receive a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for tickets to hear Dyson speak on April 7.

Those who already have purchased a ticket for the Dyson lecture and would like to participate in these reading programs may purchase the books at 50 percent off the list price at the University Bookstore by displaying their ticket when making their purchase.

Participants in the three discussions sessions will be eligible to attend a book signing with Dyson on April 7.