Commonwealth National Podcast

Michael Eric Dyson-Author; Professor

Duration: 
1:06:14
Michael Eric Dyson, Author; Professor


APRIL 4, 1968. THE LEGACY OF MLK, Jr.


Radio personality and regular commentator on NPR, CNN, and the HBO program “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Professor Michael Eric Dyson – the man who challenged actor Bill Cosby for his attack on poor blacks – will examine the death of Martin Luther King Jr. and its impact on the past, present, and future of the country. Drawing on arguments presented in his book April 4, 1968, the best-selling author will discuss how Martin Luther King Jr. sacrificed his life 40 years ago for the sake of unity in an otherwise volatile environment. Reflecting on the progress of the last four decades, Dyson will address the merits and flaws of black leadership since King, from Jesse Jackson to Barack Obama.


Dyson is widely considered a role model and patriarch in the African American community – having grown up as a welfare recipient, he is now a professor at the prestigious Georgetown University. Known for framing the debate on race, he has coined the words "Afristocracy" and "ghettocracy,” culturally prevalent terms used to describe the separation of middle-class and low-income black Americans. Dyson is also one of the world's leading scholars on hip-hop music, its roots in African and African-American cultures, and its influence on American popular culture.


Dyson teaches Theology, English, and African American Studies at Georgetown University, where he is University Professor, the highest of faculty positions at Georgetown. He is the author of many books, including Why I Love Black Women; The True Martin Luther King, Jr.; Race Rules: Navigating the Color Line; Between God and Gangsta Rap; and Is Bill Cosby Right? He is also an ordained Baptist minister and holds a Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University.

This program was recorded in front of a live audience on April 29, 2008