MLK Symposium 2024 | Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith

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Wisconsin Union Theater | Shannon Hall | Memorial Union & Virtual
@ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

The MLK Symposium celebrates the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a relevant and thought-provoking speaker who reflects his teachings in their work or life experience. The annual event provides an opportunity for campus to remember, learn, and act on lessons from King’s legacy of activism, equity, social justice, and community building.

The MLK Symposium is jointly sponsored by the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement and Student Affairs in partnership with the Wisconsin Union Theater.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024, 5:30–7 p.m.
Doors Open at 5 p.m.
Wisconsin Union Theater’s Shannon Hall at Memorial Union & Virtual

Anna Deavere Smith is a writer and actress. She is credited with having created a new form of theater. Her plays, sometimes called “docudramas,” focus on contemporary issues from multiple points of view and are composed from excerpts of hundreds of interviews. Plays, and films based on them, include “Fires in the Mirror” and “Twilight: Los Angeles,” both of which dealt with volatile race events in the 1990s; “Let Me Down Easy,” about the U.S. healthcare system; and “Notes from the Field,” which focused on the school-to-prison pipeline.

Her work as an actress on television includes “Inventing Anna,” “The West Wing,” “Nurse Jackie,” and “Black-ish.” Mainstream movies include “Philadelphia,” “The American President,” “Rachel Getting Married,” and “Here Today.”

President Obama awarded Smith the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal. She was the 2015 Jefferson Lecturer. She is the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, several Obie awards, two Drama Desk awards, the George Polk Career Award in Journalism, and the Dean’s Medal from the Stanford University School of Medicine. She was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize and nominated for two Tony Awards.

Smith is a University Professor at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. She has several honorary doctorate degrees including those from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Spelman College, Prairie View University, Juilliard, and Oxford.