Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was the keynote speaker for the 2011 Third Annual MLK Lecture, which more than 900 people attended.

UMKC celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.

Henry Louis Gates speaks, TAASU hosts Freedom Breakfast

"We must work unceasingly to uplift this nation that we love to a higher destiny, to a higher plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humanness."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.


2011 Third Annual MLK Keynote Lecture

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. - American literary critic, professor, scholar, editor, writer and producer - was the keynote speaker for the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) 2011 Third Annual MLK Keynote lecture. More than 900 people attended the Jan. 14 lecture, which was sponsored by the Division of Diversity, Access and Equity (DDAE).

"Since this is the Martin Luther King Keynote lecture, it is only appropriate to have a scholar of Henry Louis Gates' stature," said Karen Dace, Ph.D., Deputy Chancellor of the DDAE. "Dr. Gates is one of the most widely-known scholars on African American and Africana studies in the United States today."

Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Also, he is editor-in-chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field of African American Studies and Africana Studies.

He is the author of several works of literary criticism including, "Wonders of the African World"; "Colored People: A Memoir"; and "The Signifying Monkey". Most recently, he edited "The Bondwoman's Narrative" by Hannah Crafts - the first novel written by a female fugitive slave. He is general editor of the Norton Anthology of African Literature and the co-editor of Microsoft Encarta Africana. He is a staff writer for The New Yorker and is co-editor of Transitions magazine.

Gates earned his bachelor of arts in history from Yale University and his master's and doctorate in English language and literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge. He taught English literature and Afro-American studies at Yale and Cornell Universities before joining the faculty of Harvard in 1991.

Gates is a member of numerous organizations including the Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Council of Foreign Relations, the African Literature Association and Phi Beta Kappa. He also is a board member of the Lincoln Center Theatre and the Whitney Museum.

For information on the Division of Diversity, Access and Equity, visit the DDAE Web site.

The African American Student Union Freedom Breakfast

From 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19, the African American Student Union (TAASU) and Multicultural Student Affairs will host the TAASU Freedom Breakfast at the University Center's Pierson Auditorium, 5000 Holmes St. The 2011 theme is "Be the Change You Want to See". To purchase tickets, visit or call (816) 235-5628.

The Freedom Breakfast, which takes place each January, honors the memory and contribution of Martin Luther King, Jr., seeks to promote unity and harmony on campus and serves as a kick-off to African American History Month.  

Ryan Lee, a fourth-year Instrumental Studies student at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance and Debra Lee, his mother and a UMKC Library Information Specialist, will begin the program by performing "No Ways Tired," by James Cleveland. Ryan will play the piano and Debra will sing.

Rudy Currence, a national R&B, soul and pop recording artist, will deliver the keynote address. Currence is described as an innovative, classic, powerful and unique voice in today's music scene. Rudy sings, writes lyrics, produces complex music and plays several instruments, including the keyboard and guitar.

At 7 p.m. on Jan. 19, Currence will perform for "An Evening with Rudy Currence" at the Student Union Theater, 5100 Cherry St. The program is sponsored by the Activity & Program Council, Multicultural Student Affairs and The Multicultural Alumni Committee.

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Conservatory of Music and Dance students perform at The African American Student Union (TAASU) Freedom Breakfast.

Rudy Currence, a national R&B, soul and pop recording artist, will deliver the keynote address at the 2011 TAASU Freedom Breakfast.