The controversial duo of Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West is slated to headline the 2013 NCAE (North Carolina Association of Educators) Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Gala in Raleigh next month.
Smiley is best known for his PBS talk show and his nationally-broadcasted radio commentaries. West is a renowned educator, author and has been hailed as one of today’s greatest thinkers.
“This is a very special occasion and event for the Association,” said NCAE President Rodney Ellis, a Winston-Salem educator. “NCAE members and supportive citizens and friends can hear firsthand from two of the nation’s leading voices on democracy, diversity and disenfranchisement.”
While both Smiley and West have a great number of fans and supporters, they have come under great scrutiny in the past few years for publicly criticizing President Barack Obama. In 2008, Smiley reportedly exited his job as a commentator on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” because listeners were unhappy with his frequent negative critiques of then Sen. Obama. Soon after the president won re-election last month, West made national headlines when he called Obama, a “Republican in blackface.”
West and Smiley often share speaking engagements and in September ended a four state tour to address the state of poverty in America.
The event, sponsored by the NC Foundation for Public School Children and the Human and Civil Rights Commission of the NCAE, will be held on Friday, Jan. 11 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Jane S. McKimmon Center, 1101 Gorman St. Raleigh. WRAL-TV CH 5 news anchor and reporter David Crabtree will serve as the emcee.
Ticket information is available at www.NCFPSC.org.