University of Missouri

Legion of Black Collegians

The Black student government at the University of Missouri

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Keynote Speakers

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson

Named one of the 150 most powerful African Americans by Ebony magazine, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, an American Book Award recipient and two-time NAACP Image Award winner, “is reshaping what it means to be a public intellectual by becoming the most visible black academic of his time.”

Dr. Dyson’s pioneering scholarship has had a profound effect on American ideas, from his first book, 1993’s “Reflecting Black: African American Cultural Criticism,” which helped establish the field of black American cultural studies, to his most recent, “Can You Hear Me Now? The Inspiration, Wisdom, and Insight of Michael Eric Dyson.” His recent book offers a sampling of his sharp wit, profound thought, and edifying eloquence on the enduring problems of humanity, from love to justice, and the latest topics of the day, including race and the presidency.

Dr. Dyson has appeared on nearly every major media outlet and he is also a contributing editor to TIME magazine. In addition, he hosts a news and talk program on NPR, “The Michael Eric Dyson Show,” where he delivers thoughtful analysis of today’s biggest stories from pop culture to race relations.

Dr. Dyson is presently University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University where, in 2011, he received widespread attention for his course “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z.” His legendary rise – from welfare father to Princeton Ph.D., from church pastor to college professor, from a factory worker who didn’t start college until he was 21 to a figure who has become what writer Naomi Wolf terms “the ideal public intellectual of our time” – may help explain why author Nathan McCall simply calls him “a street fighter in suit and tie.”

Symone Sanders

A champion for women, communities of color and those in need, Symone D. Sanders is a democratic strategist, communications consultant, CNN Political Commentator and a Spring 2018 Resident Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School. Symone rose to prominence during her tenure as the National Press Secretary for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. At 25, Symone demonstrated an uncanny command of the issues earning her a place in history as the youngest presidential press secretary on record and a spot on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of 16 young Americans shaping the 2016 election.

However, Symone was not new to presidential politics. When she was 16, she introduced former President Bill Clinton at a luncheon in Omaha, Nebraska. Following her remarks, President Clinton said, “Symone spoke so well I really hate to follow her.” President Clinton went on to write about Symone in his book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World.

Now, Symone draws from her experience on the national stage to provide perceptive analysis on political and social issues. Her lively presentations challenge the conventional wisdom that strong communities are only defined by what we have in common. Instead, she outlines the way our differences contribute to effective social movements.

Symone has been featured on NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, BET, TV One and currently can be seen on CNN as a Political Commentator. She has been profiled in the Washington Post, the New Yorker, ESSENCE Magazine and ELLE.

Symone is currently Principal of the 360 Group LLC where she provides strategic communications guidance to organizations, businesses, individuals, campaigns and candidates and helps clients find sound solutions to tough political and social problems.