Harris-Lacewell gives keynote address

Frances Leaphart

Princeton University professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell visited the University on Jan. 22 to give a talk entitled “Building the Promised Land: The Continuing Significance of King in the Age of Obama.”

Her talk was the keynote address of Villanova’s four-part series honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

“My president is black and my PowerPoint is blue,” she opened, referencing a popular Young Jeezy song.

An associate professor of politics and African American studies, Harris-Lacewell spoke about what Martin Luther King, Jr. means in the age of Obama.

Students and faculty packed the Villanova Room to hear Harris-Lacewell speak.

Harris-Lacewell is an award-winning author of the book “Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought.”

She is currently working on another book called, “For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Politics When Being Strong Wasn’t Enough.” She also works with Yolanda Pierce on a blog called “The Kitchen Table.”

Additionally, Harris-Lacewell is teaching the courses, “The Politics of American Racial Health Disparities” and “Black Women’s Political Activism” at Princeton University.

Her lecture centered on newly inaugurated President Barack Obama and the late Martin Luther King Jr. Harris-Lacewell said that, like the many presidents before him, Obama needs “Kings” to help him in his presidency.

People should try to live a “King”- inspired life so that they can help Obama be a better president, Harris-Lacewell said.

“A ‘King’-inspired life embodies humility, passion, production, service and mistakes,” Harris-Lacewell added, saying that citizens should consider it their duty to tell the president how they see things.

“Presidents see things from up there instead of from down here,” Harris-Lacewell explained.

Audience members gave the speaker a standing ovation.

“That’s the first lecture I have been to that I did not feel like it was a forced standing ovation,” said freshman Jordan Myers.

“Always have a positive outlook and approach to every situation you approach,” Harris-Lacewell concluded.