Green Festival Speakers
Dr. Cornel West
One of America's most provocative public intellectuals, Cornel West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. The New York Times has praised his ferocious moral vision.
Currently the Class of 1943 Professor at Princeton University, West burst onto the national scene in 1993 with his bestselling book, Race Matters, a searing analysis of racism in American democracy. Race Matters has become a contemporary classic, selling more than a half a million copies to date. In addition, West has published 16 other books and has edited 13 texts.
West earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard in three years, magna cum laude. Martin Kilson, one of his professors there, describes West as the most intellectually aggressive and highly cerebral student I have taught. After earning his Ph.D. at Princeton, he became a professor of religion and director of the AfroAmerican Studies program there. West has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris.
In his last book Democracy Matters, West analyzes the arrested development of democracy both in America and in the crisisridden Middle East. He argues that if America is to become a better steward of democratization around the world, it must first recognize its own long history of imperialist corruption. His latest CD, Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations is a collection of socially conscious music featuring collaborations with Prince, Outkast, Jill Scott, Talib Kweli. West also offers commentary weekly on The Tavis Smiley Show from PRI.
West was an influential force in developing the storyline for the popular Matrix movie trilogy and has served as its official spokesperson, as well as playing a recurring role in the final two films.