North Central College - Naperville, IL

Tavis Smiley to speak at North Central College during Martin Luther King Jr. Week

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Dec. 5, 2011—Radio and television host Tavis Smiley will be keynote speaker during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Week observance at North Central College.

The talk show host, political commentator and entrepreneur will deliver his presentation, “America I AM,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19 in Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, Dec. 7 for $10; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

Inspired by Smiley’s award-winning, touring museum exhibit, “America I AM: The African American Imprint,” this multimedia presentation is a riveting visual and oratorical keynote that peers into the heart of American culture through the nearly 500-year-old lens of African-American history.

From his celebrated conversations with world figures, to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders as a successful entrepreneur and media icon, Smiley continues to be an outstanding voice for change. He currently hosts the late-night television talk show, “Tavis Smiley” on PBS, “The Tavis Smiley Show” distributed by Public Radio International (PRI) and is the co-host with Cornel West of “Smiley & West,” also distributed by PRI.

In addition to his radio and television work, Smiley has authored 14 books. “Covenant with Black America,” which he edited, became the first nonfiction book by a black-owned publisher to reach No. 1 on The New York Times best seller list.

In 2009, Time magazine named him to its list of The World's 100 Most Influential People. In August, Smiley and West took to the road on an 18-city nationwide tour to highlight the issue of poverty in America. Smiley marks his 20th year in broadcasting during 2011.

North Central College’s Martin Luther King Week, Jan. 15-21, is an annual celebration of the College’s history of building bridges among cultures. This year’s celebration includes a musical tribute to Dr. King by the Chicago Sinfonietta on Jan. 15 and the College’s 24th annual Gospel Extravaganza on Jan. 21.

Dr. King spoke in Pfeiffer Hall in 1960, and in the 1960s North Central students traveled to Alabama to participate in civil rights demonstrations. The College was founded in 1861 by Evangelical Christians who believed strongly in abolition of slavery and equal rights regardless of race or gender.   

Nicor, Quarles & Brady and Sara Lee Foundation are underwriting sponsors of Martin Luther King Jr. Week at North Central College. This presentation is one of many ongoing programs at North Central College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical productions, art exhibits and lectures, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).