Jan 9, 2009    #005
Contact: Wandra Brooks Green

Cornel West is keynote for MLK inaugural program Country’s foremost intellectual and social critic on race issues

Cornel West, Princeton University’s Class of 1943 University Professor in the Center for African American Studies, will be the keynote speaker for the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) 2009 Inaugural Martin Luther King Keynote lecture, UMKC’s Division of Diversity, Access and Equity (DDAE).

The inaugural address will take place at 6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 23, 2009, at the UMKC Swinney Recreation Center, 5000 Rockhill Road. A book sale – including West’s latest book released in Nov. 2008, “Hope on a Tightrope,” – and signing will follow. See "Hope on a Tightrope." The lecture is free; however, tickets are required.

“Since this is the inaugural Martin Luther King Keynote lecture, it is only appropriate to have Cornel West – professor, author, lecturer and a leading intellectual – as our speaker,” said Karen Dace, Ph.D., Deputy Chancellor of the DDAE. “Dr. West is one of the most widely known social critics on issues of race in the United States today.”

West’s 1993 bestselling book, “Race Matters,” sold more than 400,000 copies and put him in the national spotlight for his searing analysis of racism in America. In his latest book, “Democracy Matters,” West analyzes the suppressed development of democracy in America and the Middle East.

West has published 17 books and has edited 13 texts. He currently teaches religion, philosophy and African American Studies at Princeton; was previously on the faculty at Union Theological Seminary and Yale University; and has served as a visiting professor at numerous colleges and universities.

He graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude and earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University. West received the James Madison Medal from Princeton in 1996, the highest honor the University bestows on its graduate alumni.

Tickets are available through the UMKC Central Ticket Office, 4949 Cherry Street; online at or by calling 816-235-6222. For information on the Division of Diversity, Access and Equity, visit

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Celebrating 75 years, UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.


This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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