Dr. Cornel West (Twitter Photo)

TUSKEGEE, Ala. —Tuskegee University will mark the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with an address by a world-renowned author and social philosophy pundit. Monday, January 18 at 1 p.m. CST in University Chapel, prominent and provocative intellectual Dr. Cornel West will be the keynote speaker for the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation.

The title of West’s speech is “Race, Democracy and the Dream Today.” The address is free and open to the public.

West is a professor of philosophy and Christian practice at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. West graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton. He has written more than 20 books and has edited 13. Though he is best known for his classics, “Race Matters” and “Democracy Matters,” and for his memoir, “Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud,” his most recent releases, “Black Prophetic Fire and Radical King,” received critical acclaim.

“We are happy to have Dr. Cornel West serving as our 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr., speaker who promises to stimulate our hearers with an impressive blend of history, philosophy, and contemporary political issues,” said Dr. Brian L. Johnson, Tuskegee University president. “It is personally meaningful for me as well having first met and conversed with him in the fall of 1994 while a senior undergraduate student, and that meeting has impacted my entire career as a faculty member, scholar and now a university president.”

Featured on television and film

West is a frequent guest on the “Bill Maher Show,” CNN, C-Span and “Democracy Now.” He made his film debut in “The Matrix” – and was the commentator (with Ken Wilbur) on the official trilogy released in 2004. He also has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films including “Examined Life,” “Call & Response,” “Sidewalk” and “Stand.”

He has made three spoken word albums including “Never Forget,” collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One and the late Gerald Levert. His spoken word interludes were featured on Terence Blanchard’s “Choices” (which won the Grand Prix in France for the best Jazz Album of the Year of 2009), The Cornel West Theory’s “Second Rome,” Raheem DeVaughn’s Grammy-nominated “Love & War: Masterpeace,” and most recently on Bootsy Collins’ “The Funk Capital of the World.” In short, West has a passion to invite a variety of people from all walks of life into his world of ideas in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. – a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.

The event is part of the Tuskegee University Lyceum Series, which is part of the Student Engagement Initiatives program. The program is among the institution’s priorities on Tuskegee University’s vision document. The mission of the Lyceum Series is to engage students, faculty, staff, and the greater Tuskegee community. The prominent speakers and artists enrich the overall education experience for audiences.