Jan. 19: Journalist Jeff Johnson to appear in the Speaker Series

Jeff Johnson wants to know: Who will be his generation’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Who will lead the next great social movement?

The MSNBC contributor and White House correspondent for NBC’s TheGrio.com will explore these questions in the Speaker Series at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. His presentation, titled “Unclaimed Legacy,” takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19, in the McGarvey Commons of the Reed Union Building and is free and open to the public.

A Cleveland native and former national director of the Youth and College Division of the NAACP, Johnson is an award-winning journalist and political commentator who has spent the last decade covering the intersection of politics and pop culture. His comfort in both realms is evident in the fact that he was both a vice president of the Russell Simmons Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) and the only U.S. reporter to receive an exclusive post-inauguration interview with Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state.

In 2008, Johnson received the National Association of Black Journalists’ Salute to Excellence Award for his “Life & Death in Darfur, Jeff Johnson Reports” series on BET. He regularly contributes commentary and analysis related to race, politics, socio-economics and popular culture to MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, Larry King Live, the Huffington Post, theRoot.com, EbonyJet.com, and Upscale magazine. He also is one of 30 influential thirtysomethings from Europe and North America selected by the British Council to be a part of Transatlantic Network 2020, an effort to reinvigorate traditional alliances through dialogue between future leaders.

Johnson is the author of “Everything I’m Not Made Me Everything I Am: Discovering Your Personal Best,” a book he describes as a challenge to the post-Civil Rights generation “to stop making excuses, overcome personal challenges, and create lives filled with passion, meaning and service.”

Jeff Johnson’s Penn State Behrend Speaker Series presentation is supported by the Student Activity Fee, the Division of Student Affairs, and the Harriet Behrend Ninow Memorial Lecture Series Fund. Also appearing in the series this spring will be author Jeannette Walls on Wednesday, Feb. 15, “Planet Money” hosts Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg on Tuesday, March 13, and National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence Spencer Wells on Thursday, April 2. For additional information, contact the Office of Student Activities at 814-898-6171.

Last Updated December 15, 2011