Looking Ahead to Black History Month 2017


As you begin planning for Black History Month 2017, take a look at our great selection of speakers that each provide a unique way to honor this important month. Our speakers will educate, inspire, and ignite important conversations about the past, present, and future of race.

History in Context

From the Great Migration to the Civil Rights Movement, our speakers examine crucial moments in our national history that continue to shape the country today.

This February give your audiences the chance to interact with a living legend of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1957, Carlotta Walls LaNier was the youngest of the famed “Little Rock Nine” who integrated Central High School. LaNier motivates audiences with her personal story of perseverance and strength during this pivotal moment in history.

Pulitzer Prize winner and National Humanities Medal recipient Isabel Wilkerson is the author of The Warmth of Other Suns, the New York Times bestseller that tells the true story of three people who made the decision of their lives during the Great Migration. She is an exceptional speaker who uses these fascinating real-life stories to illuminate a vital moment in American History and to open up larger conversations about social justice and immigration.

Leading Social Reform

For this Black History Month, consider a speaker who inspires social change and champions systemic reform.

There are not many speakers who can claim that their convocation address went viral and reached over 13 million views – but award-winning educator and poet Donovan Livingston can do just that. When he addressed the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2016, he delivered a speech that would prompt praise from Hillary Clinton and Justin Timberlake. Drawing on personal experiences as well as scholarship, Livingston examines the legacy of social inequalities in America’s school system and encourages educational reform as a means to greater change.

Lawyer and social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson has said: “Shaka Senghor’s terrific and inspiring [story] affirms that we are all more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” After serving nineteen years in prison, Shaka Senghor transformed his life to become a leading voice in criminal justice reform. His TED Talk has been viewed more than 1.3 million times and his stirring lectures inspire audiences across the nation.

Speaker and leading civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson motivates audiences to stand up to injustice. A heroic advocate, Stevenson fights on behalf of the most powerless people in our society and is one of the country’s foremost leaders of the movement against mass incarceration. His book, Just Mercy: A Story of Redemption and Justice, is a powerful call to action to fix our broken criminal justice system. Stevenson is an electrifying speaker who is sure to inspire audiences to fight for change as soon as they leave the lecture hall.

Telling True Stories

Honor this Black History Month with some of our critically acclaimed speakers whose fiction and poetry is grounded in historical truth, personal experience, and the testimony of others.

“Have I found a great book!” With these words of enthusiasm and excitement Oprah Winfrey announced Colson Whitehead’s new novel The Underground Railroad as the pick for her book club. The novel is a shattering meditation on the United States’ complicated political and racial history. A riveting speaker, Whitehead has given talks at universities and libraries across the country. In his lectures, he discusses his new novel, openly addressing the complexities of revisiting and writing about slavery today.

Kevin Young has been hailed as “one of the most important poets of his generation” by the Washington Post. An award-winning poet, essayist, and editor, Young is the author of the recent collection, Blue Laws, which was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award in Poetry. In his eloquent lectures and readings, Young explores the personal and the political, examining how identity, personal relationships, and cultural history shape the human experience.

Danielle Evans is truly a new star of her generation. Her electric debut story collection, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, about mixed-race and African-American teenagers, women, and men struggling to find a place in their families and communities, won the 2011 PEN / Robert Bingham Prize. In her work and speaking engagements, Evans offers a pitch-perfect examination of racial identity and class in a post-Civil Rights America.

Immigrant Voices

Observe Black History Month by inviting speakers who captivate audiences with timely messages on immigration and reinvention, and help to celebrate the wonderful diversity of our country.

Our speaker Dinaw Mengestu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1978 and immigrated to the United States in 1980. Mengestu speaks with reflective expressiveness about the immigrant experience, as illustrated in his award winning novels, The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears, How to Read the Air, and All Our Names.

A powerful and widely celebrated voice in contemporary fiction, Haitian-American bestselling author and social activist Edwidge Danticat has written ten books and has received numerous awards and honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Story Prize, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She is a thoughtful speaker and storyteller whose lectures explore immigrant identity and community.

Please contact us about booking any of these featured speakers to come to one of your future events.

And be sure to sign-up for our newsletter for update on all our great speakers for Black History Month and MLK Day.