MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (TN Tribune) — Dr. Cornel West, professor emeritus at Princeton University, and author and motivational speaker Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of the late human rights activist Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz, will help close out MTSU’s Black History Month celebration with separate public talks.

West will give a “State of the African American Union” address from 7-8:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building, 615 Alma Mater Drive.

The fiery orator is perhaps best known for his work as a philosopher, activist and author, leading an ongoing nuanced discussion on if “Does race still matter?” He has authored books such as “Race Matters” and “Democracy Matters.”

“His topic will concern the role race plays in the 21st century. Since it has now been 30 years since West released his renowned work, ‘Race Matters,’I felt it important to invite him to elaborate if he believes racial consciousness still matters, today,” said Aaron Treadwell, an assistant professor in the Department of History.

“What this process will look like is Dr. West giving students and those attending an opportunity to engage in a conversation that spans over many topics — with the central theme of the role that race plays. These topics will include the role of race in education, politics, economics, and religion.”

Selected MTSU students will help moderate the discussion and there will be a Q&A session to conclude the event.

West’s appearance will be followed by the MTSU Black History Month keynote address from Shabazz a few days later.

Shabazz’s address will be held from 7-9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, in the Student Union’s second floor ballroom, 1768 MTSU Blvd.

An award-winning author, educator, and producer, Shabazz is the author of several books highlighting the powerful journeys of both her mother and father. She continues the work and legacy of her parents as the co-chair of the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center (The Shabazz Center).

Shabazz has authored five historical novels, with the most recent, “X: A Novel” currently in production for a television series with Sony Pictures Television’s TriStar. Shabazz, who will have a book signing following her remarks.

“Shabazz will speak about the legacy of her father, Malcolm X, and the continued need for unity among all human beings,” said Danielle Rochelle, director of MTSU’s Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs. “I encourage the community to take advantage of this unique chance to hear her informed and empowering words.”

Both events are free and open to the public. For off-campus visitors planning to attend the event, an MTSU parking map is available at

West’s visit in sponsored by the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Fund, History Department, Africana Studies, Center for Historic Preservation, Albert Gore Research Center, Intercultural and Diversity Affairs, College of Liberal Arts, and Philosophy and Religious Studies.

Shabazz’s appearance is sponsored by Intercultural and Diversity Affairs and the Distinguished Lecture Fund.

For more information and for updates on 2023 Black History Month events at MTSU, contact Rochelle at 615-898-5812 or