NYU Washington, DC, the NYU Brademas Center, and the March on Washington Film Festival hosted an afternoon of guest lecturers who presented their perspectives on aspects of the Civil Rights, social, and economic justice movements, and the impact of those movements on current national and international events.
This event was also in partnership with the Walker International Communications Group and AARP.
Books were available for sale and autograph courtesy of DC-based bookseller Politics & Prose.
12:00 PM Dr. Paul Smith
1:00 PM Kent Spriggs
2:00 PM Donna Walker Kuhne & Special Guest Ernest Green
3:00 PM Averell "Ace" Smith
4:00 PM Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad
Ernest G. Green was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on September 22, 1941 to Lothaire S. and Ernest G. Green, Sr. His parents instilled in him confidence and self-respect that helped him to become a leader among his peers and a civil rights advocate. He was one of the first black students to integrate at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, following the Supreme Court ruling to desegregate in 1954. Green is the oldest of the "Little Rock Nine," a group of high school students who entered Central High School on the morning of September 25, 1957, with an escort of paratroopers. Governor Orval Faubus had summoned National Guardsmen to turn away the black pupils in direct defiance of the federal government, which had already approved a desegregation plan for the school. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, for the first time since Reconstruction, sent in federal troops to protect the rights of the beleaguered students, and the students ultimately prevailed.Green graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in 1962 and an M.A. in 1964.
In 1965, Green became involved in employment law with a building-trade apprenticeship for the Adolph Institute, a project to help minority women in the South find opportunities for professional careers. He then directed the A. Phillip Randolph Education Fund from 1968 to 1976. Between 1977 and 1981, he served as assistant secretary in the Labor Department under President Jimmy Carter. Since 1981, Green has worked in the private sector for consulting firms. He was a partner for Green and Herman from 1981 to 1985, owned E. Green and Associates from 1985 to 1986, and has been with Lehman Brothers since 1985.
Green has been on the boards of various organizations, such as the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, AfriCare and the African Development Foundation. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the NAACP Spingarn Award, the Rockefeller Public Service Award, and honorary doctorates from Tougaloo College, Michigan State University, and Central State University.
He is married to Phyllis Green and they have three children, Adam, Jessica and McKenzie.
Since 1984 Ms. Walker-Kuhne has been President of Walker International Communications Group. She conducts seminars and workshops while providing marketing consultation services to arts organizations, performing and visual artists, dance companies, Broadway and off Broadway productions, and non-profit groups. Among her clients are major multicultural performing arts organizations including, The Romare Bearden Foundation, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Baby It’s You, Stick Fly the Broadway production of THURGOOD starring Laurence Fishburne, August Wilson’s Radio Golf, Carribbean Cultural Center, The Apollo Theater, The Sphinx Organization, Sony/BMG Music, WNYC Radio, the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities, and Dance USA. She was recently an Associate Producer for the critically acclaimed production of George C. Wolfe’s Harlem Song at the world-famous Apollo Theater. She was honored in 1998 as the first American invited by the National Arts Council of Singapore to teach a week-long marketing workshop.
In 2003 she was the first American invited by the Australian Council on the Arts to do a three-city lecturing tour on the topic: Ethnic Diversity for Arts Organizations. She was invited back in 2007 for a six-city lecturing tour on the same topic. In 2004 she was honored with the Pioneering Women in Theater award by the Black Public Relations Society of Greater New York , proclamation from the Manhattan Borough President, C. Virginia Fields, City Council Citation from Brooklyn Council member Yvette Clarke and Certificate of Recognition from 11th Congressional District, Brooklyn from Member of Congress, Major R. Owens.
In 2009 and 2010, Walker International Communications Group, Inc was awarded grants from the Theater Subdistrict Council to implement projects to diversify Broadway. Impact Broadway is a socially and technology driven audience development initiative serving 300 African American and Latino students throughout the 5 boroughs of New York City. These students have participated in Broadway productions, social networking and participation in seminars and lectures.
Khalil Gibran Muhammad is professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. He is the former Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a division of the New York Public Library and the world’s leading library and archive of global black history. Before leading the Schomburg Center, Khalil was an associate professor at Indiana University.
Khalil’s scholarship and teaching examines the broad intersections of race, democracy, inequality and criminal justice in modern U.S. History. He is a contributor to a 2014 National Research Council study, The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences, and is the author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (Harvard), which won the 2011 John Hope Franklin Best Book award in American Studies.
Much of his work has been featured in a number of national print and broadcast media outlets, including the New York Times, New Yorker, Washington Post, National Public Radio, Moyers and Company, MSNBC and C-Span. He has appeared in a number of feature-length documentaries, including Slavery by Another Name (2012) and the Oscar-nominated 13th (2016). Khalil was an associate editor of The Journal of American History and prior Andrew W. Mellon fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice. He holds two honorary doctorates and is on the boards of the Vera Institute of Justice, The Museum of Modern Art, The Barnes Foundation, The Nation magazine, and the advisory boards of Cure Violence and The HistoryMakers.
A native of Chicago’s South Side, Khalil graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Economics in 1993, and then joined Deloitte & Touche, LLP, as a staff accountant until entering graduate school. He earned his Ph.D. in U.S. History from Rutgers University.
April Reign practiced law for nearly twenty years, honing her talent for public speaking and persuasive writing, but it wasn’t until she walked away from her legal practice that she found her true passion. April is now the Senior Director of Marketing for Fractured Atlas, after a nationwide search for the newly created leadership position. Fractured Atlas is a nonprofit arts service organization that leverages technology to make the business of art easier for artists and small arts organizations. Reign leads the marketing and branding of Fractured Atlas’ products and services while partnering with the engineering team on product development.
As the Creator of the viral hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, April Reign challenges the lack of representation of marginalized communities in Hollywood and beyond. Reign sustains a movement that has resulted in the most systemic change ever seen in the over 80-year history of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. April Reign owned her opportunity, the results of which are reverberating throughout the entertainment industry.
Reign is an influential and sought-after media presence, having built an organic following of over 125,000 worldwide. Reign is able to capitalize on her strengths and pursue her calling, using her voice to spark dialogue and explore issues of race, politics and culture. April Reign now travels the country speaking at academic institutions and consulting with organizations, networks, and studios regarding issues of diversity and inclusion.
Ace is a 30-year veteran of state and national politics and has directed winning campaigns from District Attorney to President. With deep experience on the West Coast, he specializes in high-stakes political, governmental and public affairs campaigns.
Over the years, Ace has worked with a roster of clients including Virginia Governor Doug Wilder (1989), Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (1989), U.S. Senator Paul Simon (1990), Texas Governor Ann Richards (1990), U.S. Senator Patty Murray (1992), U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (1992), U.S. Senator Kent Conrad (1994), Congressman Richard Gephardt (1994-2002), California Governor Gray Davis (1998, 2002), U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (1992-2010) and Howard Dean for President (2004).
In 2005, Ace directed Antonio Villaraigosa's underdog campaign for Mayor of Los Angeles, marking the first time since the 1930's that a Los Angeles Mayor had been defeated after a single term. In 2006, he ran Jerry Brown's campaign for California Attorney General and served as State Director for U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton's campaigns in California, Texas, and North Carolina during the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary. In 2010, Ace and his partners were instrumental in the historic election of San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris as California Attorney General and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom as California Lieutenant Governor. Ace ran San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's victorious campaign and led the historic Proposition 30 effort for Governor Brown.
Ace also has extensive experience advising corporate clients and winning complex initiative campaigns. The subject of several newspaper profiles, Ace was called "legendary" by the New York Times and political campaign manager "heavyweight champion of the year" in the San Francisco Chronicle. Ace earned his B.A. in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley.
With Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.and Ambassador Andrew Young as friends and mentors, Dr. Paul Smith entered the ministry in 1960. He soon became a stalwart marcher in the US Civil Rights Movement. Inspired and guided by theologian and mystic Dr. Howard Thurman, Dr. Smith has made diversity and inclusiveness hallmarks of his life’s work.
Dr. Smith has created unique and successful models of multi-cultural worship and interfaith collaboration at churches in Buffalo, NY, St. Louis, MO, Atlanta, GA and Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Smith has shared his pulpit with His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Ambassador Andrew Young, tennis great Arthur Ashe, Urban League President Marc Morial, Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, members of both houses of Congress, Soka Gakkai Buddhist leaders, the Masjid Al Farah Sufi Congregation and Rabbis from several synagogues.
Outside the church, Dr. Smith is a minority and diversity consultant for Macy’s Federated Stores and American Honda Motors, called upon as negotiator/facilitator in disputes where race is a major factor. As Board Chairman of the Ethics Committee at Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital,he worked with doctors and staff to inform and support regarding difficult patient care decisions. Dr. Smith has also conducted racial sensitivity training for the New York Police Dept. and the US Government.
President Emeritus of Healthy Families, Dr. Smith has also served on the boards of Union Seminary, NARAL, Compassion and Choices, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Long Island University. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Continuum Health Partners, Inc.Dr. Smith has taught at New York Seminary, Union Seminary and New York’s New School. He was Vice President of Morehouse College and Vice-Chancellor at Washington University.
Dr. Smith’s book, Facing Death, chronicles his experiences ministering intimately to the dying and their loved ones. His second book, now in the works, will deal with health care issues from a family perspective.
Kent has practiced for more than 46 years. During his entire career he has specialized in civil rights actions and complex litigation.
He established the firm in 1971 in Tallahassee.
He has published a two-volume work on employment discrimination. Click here to learn more about Kent's book.
He was recognized by the National Law Journal as "One of the Best Employment Discrimination Lawyers in America."