Page Header

Tuskegee University Lyceum Series


As a part of continuing the institution’s commitment to educating students in an engaging and holistic way, the Tuskegee University Lyceum Series has been revamped. The 2016-2017 series begins in August and will feature notable headliners that will educate, enlighten and entertain both the university and surrounding communities. 

The series is part of the Student Engagement Initiatives program, which is among the institution’s priorities on Tuskegee University's vision document. The mission of the Lyceum Series is to engage students, faculty, staff, and the greater Tuskegee community. The high caliber features are aimed at enriching the overall education experience for audiences. The expected performers and speakers for the 2016-17 academic year are: 


Dr. Mae C. Jemison

Dr. Mae Carol Jemison is an American physician, professor and NASA astronaut. After medical school she opened a general practice, then served in the Peace Corps from 1985 until 1987, when she was selected by NASA to join the astronaut corps. She became the first African-American woman to travel in space aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. She was a NASA Science Mission Specialist performing experiments in material science, life science and human adaptation to weightlessness. She resigned from NASA in 1993 and founded a company researching the application of technology to daily life. She has appeared on television, including as an actress in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She is a dancer and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities.

Topic: TBA | Date: Thursday, August 25, 2016 | Time: 6:30 pm | Place: Chappie James Center Arena


Stogie Kenyatta as Paul Robeson

Jamaican born and Brooklyn bred, Stogie Kenyatta is a character actor with authentic Jamaican, British and African dialects. He was trained at the Afro Am. Studio in Harlem, Henry St. Settlement and Al Fann Theatrical Ensemble. He was a finalist in the N.Y. State Theatre competition with artistic director, John Houseman, and also studied Screenwriting & Political Science at the University of California & later and privately with Ivan Markota at the Van Mar Academy for Television & Film Acting. He amassed over 30 television credits from sit-coms, and film to soap operas.  In 1994 he took to the stage as a stand up comedian and began performing at comedy clubs around the country. His other appearances include the Gulf of Mexico, the South of France, London and a USO Comedy Tour in Tokyo, Japan and Okinawa. As a screenwriter Stogie has written several screenplay’s some of which were optioned. He is also the Writer/Artist of the acclaimed One Man Show on the life of Paul Robeson: “The World is my Home – The Life of Paul Robeson.”

Topic: Acclaimed One Man Broadway Show | Date: Friday, September 23, 2016 | Time: 7:00 pm | Place: Logan Hall


Kevin Powell

Kevin Powell is an American contemporary activist, writer and public speaker. Powell starred in one of the first reality shows on television. He is a founding staff member and senior writer of Vibe magazine, where his interview and profile subjects ranged from Colin Powell to Tupac Shakur. He is the publisher of numerous books, including the collection of political and pop culture writings, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Ghost of Dr. King: Blogs and Essays. Powell’s diverse body of literary work includes articles, essays, blogs and reviews for audiences of Essence, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Esquire, the Washington Post, the Amsterdam News and 

Topic: TBA | Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 | Time: 6:30 pm | Place: Chappie James Center Arena


Roland Martin

KRoland Martin is an American journalist, syndicated columnist, and author. He is a commentator for TV One and host of News One Now, a one-hour weekday morning news show. He was also a CNN contributor, appearing on a variety of shows, including the Situation Room, Anderson Cooper's AC360, and many others. In October 2008, he joined the Tom Joyner Morning Show as senior analyst. He has authored several books including: Speak, Brother! A Black Man's View of America, Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith and The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin.

Topic: TBA | Date: Monday, January 16, 2017 | Time: TBA | Place: TBA

Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson is an American lawyer, social justice activist, the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University School of Law. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults. Stevenson is the author of the critically acclaimed book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, named by Time magazine as one of the "10 Best Books of Nonfiction" for 2014. It won the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction and the 2015 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction.

Topic: Just Mercy | Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 | Time: 6:30 pm | Place: TB


Dr. Synthia St. James

Dr. Synthia Saint James is a visual artist, author, keynote speaker, and educator who is best known for the original cover art of the hardcover edition of Terry McMillan's book Waiting to Exhale, and for designing the first Kwanzaa stamp for the United States Postal Service, which was first issued in 1997. Her artwork has also been included in International Group Exhibitions since 1980 in such countries as Paris, France, Seoul, Korea, Stockholm, Sweden, Quebec, Canada, and Poland. She has received various honors and awards such as the NAACP Image Award Nominee, the Honorary Doctorate from St. Augustine's University,  She is the author and illustrator for numerous children's books and adult literature.

Topic: A Conversation, Masterclass and Art Show | Date: Thursday-Saturday, February 16-18, 2017 | Time: TBA | Place: TBA

MARCH 2017

Picture of an Ailey II dancerAiley II

For more than forty years, Ailey II has merged the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Started in 1974 as the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, Ailey II embodies Alvin Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training and community programs for all people. Mr. Ailey personally selected the veteran dancer Sylvia Waters to lead this junior company, and as its Artistic Director for 38 years, she developed Ailey II into one of America’s most popular dance companies. In June 2012, Ms. Waters retired and named her longtime associate Troy Powell as the new Artistic Director. With Mr. Powell at the helm, Ailey II continues to thrive as he brings a fresh dimension to this beloved company.

Logo of Alabama State Council on the ArtsThe critically-acclaimed Ailey II has a distinctive repertory that has included works by dance masters Alvin Ailey, Talley Beatty, Donald Byrd, Ulysses Dove, George W. Faison, Lar Lubovitch, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle and Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison. The company has also performed innovative works by rising choreographers such as Kyle Abraham, Jennifer Archibald, and Manuel Vignoulle. Touring throughout the United States and abroad, Ailey II will reach dozens of cities during its 2016-2017 tour. 

Dance Performance  | Date: Sunday, March 19, 2017 | Time: 7:00 p.m.| Place: Logan Hall

Picture of poet Kevin YoungKevin Young

Kevin Young is the author of ten books of poetry, including Book of Hours, winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets and a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award; Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels, winner of a 2012 American Book Award; and Jelly Roll: A Blues, a finalist for the National Book Award. He is also the editor of The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink and seven other collections. His book The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and won the PEN Open Book Award. He is currently the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing and English and curator of both Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University.

Ralph Ellison Lecture | Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 | Time: 3:00 pm | Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center Auditorium

APRIL 2017

Dr. Monica Hairston O'Connell

Dr. Monica Hairston O'Connell is an independent scholar, writer, and diversity consultant. Her interest is in black American musical culture and the infrastructural issues and challenges that face musicians and scholars of color. She is concerned with institutional diversity, resilience, and relevance and seeks to bring to light the examination of those institutional practices. She also served as the executive director of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College in Chicago.

Topic: TBA | Date: Saturday, April 1, 2017 | Time: 1:00 pm | Place: Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center

Check back for additional updates...

Below are the performers and speakers from the 2015-2016 academic year.


Dr. Michael Eric Dyson

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, named by Ebony as one of the 100 most influential black Americans, is the author of 16 books, including “Holler if You Hear Me,” and “I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr.” He is currently University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Topic: "Social Justice" | Date: Thursday, August 27, 2015 | Time: 6:00 pm | Place: Chappie James Center Arena


Tasha Smith

Tasha Smith is a multifaceted actress whose work brings style and intensity to the subjects she plays on the big and small screens. She currently stars in the Tyler Perry television series, “FOR BETTER OR WORSE,” on OWN for which she earned an NAACP Image Award nomination as “Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.” Smith’s memorable portrayal of ‘Angela,’ in Perry’s box office hits,“WHY DID I GET MARRIED?” and its sequel, “WHY DID I GET MARRIED, TOO?,” alongside Janet Jackson and Jill Scott, sparked the creation of the spin-off series which is focused around her relationship with onscreen husband, ‘Marcus,’ played by Michael Jai White. 

Tasha Smith & the Tasha Smith Actors Workshop | Date: Saturday, October 3, 2015 | Time: 2-4pm | Place: James Center


Dr. Robert J. Norrell

Dr. Robert J. Norrell teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in southern history and graduate courses in recent United States history. He has directed doctoral dissertations on education reform, environmental history, black religion, southern economic history, race relations in housing, and modern southern political history. He was the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the University of Tübingen. A native of Alabama, he earned his B.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. In 2009 he published a revisionist biography, Up from History: the Life of Booker T. Washington. In 2005 he published a well-reviewed interpretive synthesis of race relations in the twentieth-century United States, The House I Live In: Race in the American Century. 

Date: Monday, November 16, 2015 | Time: 9:00 am | Place: Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center Auditorium  


Angela M. Brown

Angela M. Brown personifies the ideal soprano: sheer vocal power, luxurious finesse; and shimmering, high pianissimos. With a charming personality larger than life, she unites opera, pop, and gospel in one sensational voice. Her highly successful Metropolitan Opera debut in the title role of “Aida” captured instant attention from international print and broadcast media and catapulted her onto the world’s prestigious opera and symphonic stages. While opera is the main catalyst for her career, Brown’s performance experience includes everything from star hostess on stage to producer and creator of “Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View,” an inspired show that has gained international notoriety for bringing opera to the masses in the form of a sassy, yet educational, concert presentation. 

Date: Sunday, December 6, 2015 | Time: 6:30 pm | Place: University Chapel


Dr. Cornel West

Dr. Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is a professor of philosophy and Christian practice at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. West graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton. He has written over 20 books and has edited 13. Though he is best known for his classics, “Race Matters” and “Democracy Matters,” and for his memoir, “Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. "His most recent releases, “Black Prophetic Fire” and “Radical King,” were received with critical acclaim.

Date: Monday, January 18, 2016 | Time: 1:00 pm | Place: Chappie James Center Arena


Ilyasah Al-Shabazz

Ilyasah Al-Shabazz is the daughter of Civil Rights Movement icon Malcolm X. She is a community organizer, social activist, motivational speaker, and author of the critically acclaimed "Growing Up X" (Random House, 2002).She is co-editor with Herb Boyd of "The Diary of Malcolm X" (Third Word Press, 2013), worked with illustrator AG Ford on "The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X" (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and with Kekla Magoon, "X" (Candlewick, 2014). She promotes higher education, interfaith dialogue, and building bridges between cultures for young leaders of the world. She produces The WAKE-UP Tour™, an exclusive youth empowerment program, and participates on international humanitarian delegations. She is the founder of Malcolm X Enterprises and is a trustee for The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.

Date: Tuesday, February  2, 2016 | Time: 6:00 pm | Place: Chappie James Center Arena

Frank X Walker

Former Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker is a professor in the department of English and the African American and Africana Studies Program at the University of Kentucky and the founding editor of Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. A Cave Canem Fellow and co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets, he is the author of eight collections of poetry including, “Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers,” winner of the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Poetry; and “Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York,” winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award as well as two new collections, “The Affrilachian Sonnets” and “About Flight.” Voted one of the most creative professors in the south, he is the originator of the word, Affrilachia, and is dedicated to deconstructing and forcing a new definition of what it means to be Appalachian.

Date: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 | Time: 3:00 pm | Place: Tuskegee University Chapel

Wes Moore

Moore is a decorated United States Army combat veteran, youth advocate and CEO of BridgeEdU, a national initiative focusing on addressing the college completion and career placement crisis by reinventing the freshman year of college. His New York Times bestselling book, “The Other Wes Moore,” is a story of the importance of individual decisions as well as community support, and Moore’s journey to discover meaning in his work and how he found that meaning in service. USA Today, People Magazine, “Meet the Press,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The View,” MSNBC, and NPR, as well as several others, have featured Moore. He is also the host of “Beyond Belief” on the Oprah Winfrey Network and executive producer and host of “Coming Back with Wes Moore” on PBS.  

Date: Thursday, February 25, 2016 | Time: 6:00 pm | Place: Chappie James Center Arena.  Follow Wes on Social Media -- Twitter: wesmoore1, Facebook:, Instagram: @iamwesmoore. See More at

E. Bruce Phillips

E. Bruce Phillips, Jr. has been Assistant Art Professor at Tuskegee University since 2009, where he has exposed a new generation to the history, beauty and centrality of art in our lives. Also, Phillips has been recognized for his contributions to culture by the state and was awarded an Alabama Council for the Arts visual arts fellowship for 2015-16. He is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.

Art Exhibit Date: Friday, February 26, 2016 | Time: 6:30 pm | Place: Legacy Museum. Phillips will speak in the Bioethics auditorium, then move to the Legacy Museum for the art display. The reception will take place in the hallway of the Legacy Museum.

Dr. Ronald S. McDowell

Dr. Ronald S. McDowell is an acclaimed artist with more than 30 years experience involving public art projects including large scale murals, commemorative statues and coins as well as private collector artwork such as heirloom portraits for a wide range of clients including famous celebrities such as First Lady Michelle Obama, Nelson Mandella, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Diana Ross, and Lionel Richie. McDowell has produced more than 2,000 original works.

Art Exhibit Date: Friday, February 26, 2016 | Time: 6:30 pm | Place: Legacy Museum. McDowell will speak in the Bioethics auditorium, then move to the Legacy Museum for the art display. The reception will take place in the hallway of the Legacy Museum.

MARCH 2016

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company

Rooted in the African-American experience, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is a culturally diverse contemporary dance company committed to reaching the broadest audience through exceptional performance and arts-integrated education.  

Date: March 16-19, 2016 | Performance Date: March 18, 2016 | Time: 6:30 pm | Place: Logan Hall 
Performance entitled: "Young, Gifted & Black: A Transformative Experience"

 APRIL 2016

Dr. Houston A. Baker, Jr.

Dr. Houston A. Baker, Jr. was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He is currently Distinguished University Professor and Professor of English and African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of articles, books, and essays devoted to African American literary criticism and theory. His book, “Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era” received an American Book Award for 2009. His most recent publication is “The Trouble With Post-Blackness” (Columbia University Press, February 2015), which he co-edited with K. Merinda Simmons (University of Alabama). Dr. Baker is the annual Ralph Ellison speaker. 

Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2016 | Time: 3:00 pm | Place: Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center auditorium

Check back for additional updates...

Follow updates on social media by using #CultureLivesHere