The Center for Black Literature Presents: Tavis Smiley and Cornel West Discussion

Tavis Smiley & Cornell West

The Eleventh National Black Writers Conference will host a post-Conference fund-raiser for the Center for Black Literature with authors Tavis Smiley and Cornel West on Friday, April 20, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. The program will be held at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, located at 695 Park Avenue (at E. 68th Street, between Park & Lexington Avenues), New York, N.Y. The program will be centered on Smiley and West’s discussion of their new book, The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. This event will be Smiley and West’s only New York City appearance to discuss their book.

Smiley and West argue that there are nearly 150 million poor and near poor people in America who are not responsible for the damage done by the Great Recession. Yet these people pay the price.

They challenge us to re-examine our assumptions about poverty in America, what it really is and how to eliminate it now. In the introduction to their book, they state: “This manifesto, backed by stubborn facts and damning statistics, will erase any doubt that we are experiencing a crisis in our country; we are dangerously close to cementing a permanent American catastrophe.”

Dr. Brenda M. Greene, Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature and Director of the National Black Writers Conference, states that, The Rich and the Rest of Us is a reminder of the meaningful words of Shirley Chisholm and Marian Wright Edelman, that is we have a responsibility to serve and to do what we must to eradicate the social and economic injustices in our society. That responsibility requires service. Service is the rent we pay to live on this earth. Smiley and West provide a venue to engage in this critical discussion.”

To purchase tickets in advance, go to and click “Donate.” Online ticketing is administered by the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, CUNY.
Ticket Prices: $35 (includes book); $25 (without book); $30 on-site.

About Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley currently hosts the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS; The Tavis Smiley Show distributed by Public Radio International (PRI); and is a co-host of Smiley and West (PRI). In addition to his radio and television work, Smiley has authored 16 books, including his New York Times best-selling memoir What I Know for Sure and the book he edited, the #1 New York Times best seller The Covenant with Black America. He is also the presenter and creative force behind America I AM: The African American Imprint, an unprecedented and award-winning traveling museum celebrating the extraordinary impact of African-American contributions to our nation and to the world.

About Cornel West

Educator and philosopher Cornel West is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University. Known as one of America’s most gifted, provocative and important democratic intellectuals, he is the author of the contemporary classic Race Matters, which changed the course of America’s dialogue on race and justice; the New York Times best seller Democracy Matters; and the memoir Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He is the author of 17 other texts and the recipient of the American Book Award. West holds more than 20 honorary degrees and will return this fall as Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

About the Center for Black Literature

Founded in 2003, and spearheaded by Dr. Brenda M. Greene, the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, was established to expand, broaden, and enrich the general public’s knowledge and aesthetic appreciation of the value of black literature; to continue the tradition and legacy of the National Black Writers Conference; to serve as a voice, mecca, and resource for Black writers; and to study the literature of people from the African Diaspora. It is the only Center devoted to this in the country.

About Medgar Evers College, CUNY

Medgar Evers College was founded in 1970 through the efforts from educators and community leaders in central Brooklyn. The College is named after Medgar Wiley Evers, a Mississippi-born black civil rights activist who was assassinated on June 12, 1963. The College is divided into four schools: The School of Business; The School of Professional and Community Development; The School of Liberal Arts and Education; and The School of Science, Health, and Technology. Through these Schools, the College offers 29 associate and baccalaureate degree programs, as well as certificate programs in fields such as English, Nursing, and Accounting. Medgar Evers College also operates several co-curricular and external programs and associated centers such as the Male Development and Empowerment Center, the Center for Women’s Development, the Center for Black Literature, and The DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy.