West, Shabazz to give Black History Month public t...

West, Shabazz to give Black History Month public talks at MTSU

Dr. Cornel West, professor emeritus at Princeton University, and author and motivational speaker Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of the late human rights activist Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz, will help close out MTSU’s Black History Month celebration with separate public talks on Feb. 24 and Feb. 27 respectively.

West will give a “State of the African American Union” address from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building, 615 Alma Mater Drive.

Dr. Cornel West, philosopher, activist and author and Feb. 24 guest speaker for MTSU's Black History Month observance (photo courtesy of Sigrid Estrada)
Dr. Cornel West
Ilyasah Shabazz, author, activist and educator and Feb. 27 keynote speaker for MTSU's Black History Month observance
Ilyasah Shabazz

The fiery orator, perhaps best known for his work as a philosopher, activist and author, will leading an ongoing nuanced discussion on if “Does race still matter?” He has authored books including “Race Matters” and “Democracy Matters.”

“His topic will concern the role race plays in the 21st century. Since it has now been 30 years since West released his renowned work ‘Race Matters,’ I felt it important to invite him to elaborate if he believes racial consciousness still matters, today,” said Dr. Aaron Treadwell, an assistant professor in the Department of History.

Dr. Aaron M. Treadwell, assistant professor, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts
Dr. Aaron Treadwell

“What this process will look like is Dr. West giving students and those attending an opportunity to engage in a conversation that spans over many topics, with the central theme of the role that race plays. These topics will include the role of race in education, politics, economics and religion.”

Selected MTSU students will help moderate the discussion , and there will be a Q&A session to conclude the event.

West’s appearance will be followed by the MTSU Black History Month keynote address from Shabazz a few days later.

• Shabazz’s address will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, in the Student Union’s second floor ballroom, 1768 MTSU Blvd.

An award-winning author, educator, and producer, Shabazz is the author of several books highlighting the powerful journeys of both her mother and father. She continues the work and legacy of her parents as the chair of the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in New York City.

Shabazz has authored five historical novels; the most recent, “X: A Novel,” is currently in production for a television series with Sony Pictures Television’s TriStar. She will have a book signing following her remarks at MTSU.

Danielle Rochelle, director, Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs
Danielle Rochelle

“Shabazz will speak about the legacy of her father, Malcolm X, and the continued need for unity among all human beings,” said Danielle Rochelle, director of MTSU’s Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs. “I encourage the community to take advantage of this unique chance to hear her informed and empowering words.”

Both events are free and open to the public. For off-campus visitors planning to attend, an MTSU parking map is available at

The West event will be livestreamed at and on MTSU’s Facebook page. It will also air on True Blue TV, which airs on Comcast xfinity channels 9 and 1096; and channel 9.1 on the MTSU campus cable. It also airs as channel 195 on DTC in Alexandria; digital channel 206 on United Communications in Chapel Hill; and among the PEG offerings found on channel 99 on AT&T U-verse in Middle Tennessee. True Blue TV is also available on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.

Along with the history department and Intercultural and Diversity Affairs, sponsors for West’s visit include the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Fund, the Africana Studies Program, Center for Historic Preservation, Albert Gore Research Center, College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

Intercultural and Diversity Affairs and the Distinguished Lecture Fund are sponsoring Shabazz’s appearance. For more information and for updates on 2023 Black History Month events at MTSU, contact Rochelle at 615-898-5812 or

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