Published: Jan. 16, 2015

Belafonte, Lewis and Sharpton to headline 15th Slavery to Freedom lecture series

Contact(s): Laura Probyn College of Osteopathic Medicine office: (517) 884-3755

For the past 14 years the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine has brought a number of dynamic and thought-provoking speakers to East Lansing as part of the William G. Anderson Lecture Series Slavery to Freedom: An American Odyssey.

For the 15th annual event in 2015, the college will host an all-star lineup with three nationally recognized speakers: U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Harry Belafonte and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

  • The free series will kick off at noon Feb. 6 as Lewis takes the stage at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center’s Big Ten Room A. A seminal leader in the American Civil Rights Movement, Lewis was a keynote speaker at the March on Washington and a founder and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He is also an author and winner of the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor and the only lifetime Profile in Courage Award ever granted by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
  • At 5 p.m. Feb. 12, activist, singer, songwriter, Broadway and screen actor and producer Harry Belafonte will share his story in the Kellogg Center’s Big Ten rooms. Born in Harlem and raised in Jamaica, Belafonte is widely known for his artistic work as a singer, stage and screen actor and producer. His album “Calypso” was the first to sell more than 1 million records. He earned a Tony award for the play “John Murray Anderson’s Almanac” and was the first black producer in television to win an Emmy award for the production of “An Evening with Belafonte.” A friend of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, he was active in both the American Civil Rights Movement and in opposing South African apartheid.
  • The series will conclude at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 with the Rev. Al Sharpton, who will take the stage at Wharton Center's Cobb Great Hall. An activist, author, radio and TV personality and Pentecostal minister, Sharpton heads the National Action Network, an advocacy organization with more than 60 chapters nationwide. He is the host of “PoliticsNation” on MSNBC, “Keepin’ it Real” a daily syndicated radio program and weekly webcasts and radio broadcasts on the NAN site.

There will be a reception prior to Lewis' lecture, and a reception following both Belafonte's and Sharpton's lectures. During the receptions, audience members can meet and talk with the speaker.

There is no registration required. For more information, visit or call the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s office of external programs at (517) 432-4979.

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