Boykin to replace O'Brien as MLK Evening Celebration keynote speaker

University Park, Pa. — Keith Boykin -- editor of The Daily Voice online news site, a CNBC contributor, a BET TV host and a New York Times best-selling author of three books -- will replace CNN correspondent Soledad O'Brien as the keynote speaker for the Martin Luther King Jr. Evening Celebration, which begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday (Jan. 20) in Eisenhower Auditorium on Penn State's University Park campus.

One of CNN's top special investigations correspondents, O'Brien had to withdraw from the speaking engagement when she was deployed by CNN to Haiti to cover the crisis there in the wake of a Jan. 12 earthquake.

Upon receiving news of O'Brien's withdrawal, the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration student committee worked quickly to find a replacement speaker.

Educated at Dartmouth and Harvard, Boykin attended law school with President Barack Obama and served in the White House as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton. He has traveled extensively across four continents, and in 1997 Clinton appointed him, along with Coretta Scott King and Rev. Jesse Jackson, to the US presidential trade delegation to Zimbabwe.

A founder and first board president of the National Black Justice Coalition, Boykin has spoken to audiences large and small across the world. He delivered a landmark speech to 200,000 people at the Millennium March on Washington and he gave a stirring speech about the AIDS epidemic in front of 40,000 people in Chicago's Soldier Field in July 2006.
Each of Boykin's three books has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, including his most recent book, "Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies and Denial in Black America." Boykin won the Lambda Literary Award for his second book, "Respecting The Soul," while his first book, "One More River to Cross," is taught in colleges and universities throughout the country.
Boykin is an associate producer of the 2007 feature film "Dirty Laundry" and is working on his fourth book. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Boykin currently lives in New York City.

For more information on Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration events at the University Park campus, visit


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Last Updated November 18, 2010