Award-Winning Political Journalist Delivers 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture

Yamiche Alcindor has become a go-to voice in analyzing the most critical political issues
Headshot photo of Yamiche Alcindor

This year’s virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture was hosted by Yamiche Alcindor, an award-winning political journalist who has spent most of her career covering how political policy impacts the everyday American. 

Alcindor is the White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour, Moderator of Washington Week and an NBC and MSNBC Political Contributor. She often appears on shows like Morning Joe, Meet the Press and Andrea Mitchell Reports.  

The daughter of Haitian immigrants who met while attending Boston College, Alcindor has written extensively on the intersection of race and politics. She has covered the impact of former President Donald Trump’s politics on the working-class, immigration and breaking news from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. 

“Being Haitian-American for me, whenever I walk into the White House it is a big deal. I can’t even imagine what my grandparents would think about their granddaughter, who only a few decades after they arrived here, is now in the White House questioning the President of the United States,” Alcindor said. 

Alcindor is the recipient of the White House Correspondents’ Association Aldo Beckman Award for Overall Excellence in White House Coverage, as well as the 2020 Journalist of the Year Award from the  National Association of Black Journalists. She earned a master’s degree in broadcast news and documentary filmmaking from New York University and a bachelor’s in English, Government and African American studies from Georgetown University. 

The 2022 lecture was delivered in a question-and-answer format, in a dialogue between Alcindor and Glen Rice, a reporter who has been at the Kansas City Star 34 years. Rice himself has received numerous national, regional and local journalism awards for investigations, feature writing and breaking news coverage. 

The hour-long discussion covered a wide range of topics. Below are a few questions from the discussion.

Question: How did Dr. King’s legacy inspire you? How did his quest for equity inspire you as a journalist? 

Alcindor: He inspired me because he was someone who wasn’t afraid of just telling it like it is. He wasn’t afraid of pushing America to be better. He was there on the Selma bridge pushing people to recognize the humanity of Black people. I think about some of the quotes that he said that really stick with me, like what he said about knowing the character of someone during times of challenge and controversy. I often think about those words because I believe right now, we are living through times of challenge and controversy.  

Q: Where do you get your news from? 

A: As a Miami native, I think about local news first. Supporting local news is so incredibly important. These are the people that are going to tell you where your tax dollars are going, whether the mayor is stealing your money, or if you have a Jeffrey Epstein in your backyard, that’s who is going to uncover it, in the case of the Miami Herald. I read the Miami Herald, the Sun-Sentinel, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post. Nationally, I read the New York Times, the Guardian, in terms of television I watch BBC, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, and a little bit of Fox News. 

About the Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture Series

Beginning with the Rosa Parks Lecture on Social Justice and Activism in 2007, and annually since 2009 with the Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture Series, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion honors individuals' tremendous contributions to furthering civil rights by bringing national thought leaders to campus, who provide insight and advocacy to current civil rights issues on education, economic and justice system inequalities. 

The goal of the lecture is to encourage UMKC students, staff, faculty and the Kansas City community to build upon the courageous, non-violent activism of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., and to increase awareness of present-day avenues to advocate for civil rights through free thought, action and scholarship. 

Published: Feb 16, 2022

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