Whitman College

Melissa Harris-Perry, "American Elections: Entering 2020 & Understanding 2016"

Professor Melissa Harris-Perry is the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University where she teaches courses on American politics and elections at the intersections of race, place, and gender. At Wake Forest University she served as founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center and founded the innovative bi-partisan program, Wake the Vote.

For nearly two decades, Harris-Perry has contributed to American public life through her distinct combination of scholarly analysis and ordinary wisdom ap - plied to the analysis of race, gender, politics, and power. She currently serves as Editor-at-Large for ZORA, a Medium publication for women of color. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and many other print and digital venues. She was among the initial cohort of writers for TheRoot.com and authored highly columns for Essence and The Nation. From 2016-2019 she was editor-at-large for elle.com.

She hosted the award winning television show Melissa Harris-Perry 2012-2016 on weekend mornings on MSNBC, and in 2016 won the Hillman Prize for broadcast journalism. Committed to diversifying American journalism and mentoring emerging public voices, Professor Harris-Perry has developed and implemented innovative mentoring including the Elle.com scholars program centering the stories of and girls of color and BLACK ON CAMPUS, a national student journalism program in partnership with The Nation. She is the author of the award-winning Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, and Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America.

Harris-Perry received her B.A. degree in English from Wake Forest University and her PhD in political science from Duke University. She also studied theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Harris-Perry previously served on the faculty of the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and Tulane University. She serves on several boards and award committees and is a trustee of The Century Foundation. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and business partner, James Perry. James and Melissa tackle a number of projects together including the Perry Political Partnership, Anna’s Park Homestead, and rearing two very fulfilling daughters.

Monday, November 9 at 5:00 pm

Virtual Event
Event Type

Speaker, Government, Law & Activism


Faculty, Staff, Students, General Public, Alumni


Academic, Academic Theme






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