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Prominent TV Host to Give Black History Month Keynote Speech in WI

PHOTO: Professor, author, and cultural critic Marc Lamont Hill will deliver the keynote address tomorrow in a celebration of Black History Month on the UW-Madison campus. The award-winning activist, journalist and TV host will talk about what he observed in Ferguson, Mo., several months ago. Photo credit: BET.
PHOTO: Professor, author, and cultural critic Marc Lamont Hill will deliver the keynote address tomorrow in a celebration of Black History Month on the UW-Madison campus. The award-winning activist, journalist and TV host will talk about what he observed in Ferguson, Mo., several months ago. Photo credit: BET.
February 18, 2015

MADISON, Wis. - Marc Lamont Hill, a host on HuffPost Live and BET news and a CNN political contributor, will give the keynote address Thursday at the Black History Month observation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Hill reported from Ferguson, Mo., last summer in the aftermath of the police shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man. Hill's speech is titled "Building Community in an Hour of Chaos: Progress in the Age of Obama."

Karla Foster, the university's coordinator of African-American Student Academic Services, said she expects it to be a lively speech touching on a number of themes - "definitely the things that are going on in the United States in regards to instances of police brutality and things of that nature, but also how to more so come together as a community - as a campus community."

Hill, a distinguished professor at Morehouse College, has written and edited several books. Foster said this year's Black History Month observation has a very multicultural feel.

"In regards to American Indian studies, they hold their annual traditional story-telling event," she said, "and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies will be examining the history of professional Asian jazz."

There is a long history of student activism on the UW-Madison campus, and African-American students have held several public demonstrations there since the events in Ferguson and the choke-hold death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y. Foster said today's students understand the roots of campus activism, but noted a difference between recent events and the war protests in the '60s.

"All of their protests or their die-in demonstrations have been peaceful," she said. "Their involvement in it includes their heart and their head, and they're not rowdy or unruly in any kind of sense."

The 7 p.m. speech in the Symphony Room at Gordon Commons, 770 W. Dayton St. in Madison, is free and open to the public.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI