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Founder of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy to speak at King University and Bristol Public Library Jan. 18

BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 4, 2016 – Matthew Whitaker, founder of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, will speak at King University at 9:15 a.m. in Memorial Chapel on King’s main campus in Bristol, Tenn. His morning lecture will focus on “Standing Together in an Age of Divisiveness.” At 7 p.m. at the Bristol Public Library in Bristol, Va., on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. Whitaker will discuss “The Ivory Tower, ‘Practical Racism,’ and Emancipation from the ‘Matrix.’” The events are co-sponsored by the Bristol Herald Courier.

“Matthew Whitaker has been an outstanding community leader, seeking positive change and investing his time and energy into practical and intellectual ways to combat institutional racism,” according to Shannon Harris, interim director of the King Institute for Faith and Culture. “Matthew is a public intellectual and social justice entrepreneur. We are excited to welcome him to East Tennessee, and the King Institute for Faith and Culture. He comes at an auspicious time, on a date honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.”   

Matthew Whitaker is a writer, editor, and noted international lecturer who specializes on U.S. History, African American History and life, civil rights, race relations, and social movements. Under Whitaker’s leadership, the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy won the Arizona Diversity Leadership Alliance Inclusive Workplace Award. Whitaker earned a Ph.D. in American History, with honors, from Michigan State University.

Among the many awards he has received, Whitaker was the recipient of the 2015 Pioneer Award (ASU), which recognizes a community person who makes strides in improving African-American life, community, and culture. Whitaker also serves on numerous boards, including the distinguished International Advisory Board of the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Whitaker has written or edited several books, articles, and opinion pieces.

Matthew Whitaker will speak in King University’s Memorial Chapel at 9:15 a.m. in Bristol, Tenn., and again that evening at 7 p.m. at the Bristol Public Library in Bristol, Va. The events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or contact Dr. Shannon Harris at, 423-652-4836, or 423-747-3524.


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.