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Professor Cornel West speaks on Race in the Age of Obama

Dr. Cornel West, Class of 1943 University Professor at the Center for African American Studies of Princeton University, visited Rutgers-New Brunswick on February 24th 2010 as part of the Africana Studies Department's 40th Anniversary Celebration. One of America’s most important and provocative public intellectuals, Dr. West is the author of over 15 books including Prophesy Deliverance (1982) and The American Evasion of Philosophy (1989). His bestselling and influential Race Matters (1993) offers a searing analysis of racism in American democracy. In addition to these important intellectual contributions, Professor West performs other roles in the public realm. He has released three hip-hop CDs, appears regularly on television, plays a council elder in two Matrix Movies. Describing himself as a “bluesman in the life of the mind” Professor delivers over 200 lectures a year to various audiences ranging from universities to prisons, and works with numerous political and social organizations. His writings, speeches, and teaching offer a unique blend of the quintessentially African-American traditions of the Black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz music. The result is an all-embracing democratic ethos for our troubled times and a powerful call to action.

Professor West delivered a provocative lecture on "Race and Democracy in the Age of Obama" to a standing room-only audience at the Rutgers Student Center. While celebrating the importance of Obama’s victory as the nation’s first Black president, Dr. West questioned the claim that we are living in a “post-racial” era. He discussed the challenges facing the Black community in the contemporary period and encouraged students to adopt a critical attitude toward the political and economic status quo.