EVENT: Michael Eric Dyson, author and host of an eponymous NPR program, will deliver the Dr. Joseph L. White Lecture as part of UC Irvine’s 31st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium. His talk will highlight six days of activities honoring King’s legacy.

WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, in the Pacific Ballroom at UC Irvine’s Student Center (bldg. 113, grid E8 on campus map)

INFORMATION: Free tickets are available in advance at UC Irvine’s Cross-Cultural Center or by calling 949-824-4782. Media planning to attend should contact Laura Rico at 949-824-9055 or lrico@uci.edu. Parking costs $10 in the Student Center Parking Structure at Pereira and West Peltason drives. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.ccc.uci.edu/mlk/events.

BACKGROUND: Dyson has been credited with revitalizing the role of the public intellectual with the fervor of an ordained Baptist minister. He can be heard on NPR’s hourlong “Michael Eric Dyson Show” and has written 16 books on such topics as hip-hop, race theory and cultural criticism. A popular professor of sociology at Georgetown University, he teaches courses on the significance of hip-hop music in understanding black culture and American culture.

“Michael Eric Dyson is able to stir provocative conversations about race and diversity in America,” said Kevin Huie, director of UC Irvine’s Cross-Cultural Center, which is planning the symposium. “Having him speak as part of the MLK Jr. Symposium will be one of the year’s highlights for the UCI community.”

The lecture is named in honor of Joseph L. White, who came to UC Irvine in 1967 to teach psychology, psychiatry and comparative culture. He helped found the Counseling Center and was instrumental in the creation of the Educational Opportunity Programs in the University of California and California State University systems. The Cross-Cultural Center established the lecture in 2001 to commemorate White’s work on racial understanding.