Activist, author and educator Jonathan Kozol will be the keynote speaker for Lehigh University’s two-week long celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. He will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 30, in Packard Auditorium.
Kozol’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is titled “Prophetic Justice: The Vision of Dr. King and the Present Crisis of our Separate and Unequal Public Schools.”
The talk will cap a series of events that honored the slain civil rights leader that included lectures, workshops, a memorial convocation and the conferring of 16 awards to members of the Lehigh community and beyond for their dedication to the ideals of King.
Kozol, an award-winning writer of several non-fiction books that include Amazing Grace
, Rachel and her Children
and Death at an Early Age
, graduated from Harvard University in the early 1960s, and began teaching in low-income, urban neighborhoods. It was through those experiences that Kozol became convinced of persistent, crushing inequalities in education. His accounting of those experiences led to a career of investigating and writing about the poor, disenfranchised and sometimes invisible members of society.
His work has earned him several honors and awards, including the 1968 National Book Award in Science, Philosophy, and Religion; the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for 1989: and the Conscience in Media Award of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.
His book, Savage Inequalities
, won the New England Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992. He also received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1996, an honor previously granted to the works of Langston Hughes and Dr. Martin Luther King.
In his most recent work, Letters to a Young Teacher
(Crown Publishers, August 2007), Kozol draws upon four decades of experience to guide the next generation of teachers in what he terms “a beautiful profession.”
When he is not writing or lecturing, Kozol devotes a significant amount of time to activism aimed towards revising public education policy and what he views as the punitive aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act.