Michael Eric Dyson
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Michael Eric Dyson

Michael Eric Dyson
Michael Eric Dyson at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial 4 April 2012 crop.jpg
Dyson in 2012
Born (1958-10-23) October 23, 1958 (age 59)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Knoxville College

Princeton University (MA, 1991)
Princeton University (PhD, 1993)
Occupation Author, Professor
Employer Georgetown University
Theresa Taylor
(m. 1977; div. 1979)
Brenda Joyce
(m. 1982; div. 1992)

Marcia Louise
(m. 1992; separated 2008)

Michael Eric Dyson (born October 23, 1958) is an academic, author, preacher, and radio host. He is a Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University.[2] Described by Michael A. Fletcher as "a Princeton Ph.D. and a child of the streets who takes pains never to separate the two",[3] Dyson has authored or edited more than twenty books dealing with subjects such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Marvin Gaye, Nas's debut album Illmatic, Bill Cosby, Tupac Shakur, and Hurricane Katrina.

Personal life

Dyson was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Addie Mae Leonard, who was from Alabama. He was adopted by his stepfather, Everett Dyson.[4] He attended Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, on an academic scholarship but left and completed his education at Northwestern High School.[3] He became an ordained Baptist minister at nineteen years of age.[5] Having worked in factories in Detroit to support his family, he entered Knoxville College as a freshman at the age of twenty-one.[6] Dyson received his bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, from Carson-Newman College in 1985.[3] He obtained his master's and Ph.D in religion, from Princeton University. Dyson served on the board of directors of the Common Ground Foundation, a project dedicated to empowering urban youth in the United States.[7] Dyson and his third wife (now separated), Marcia L. Dyson,[3] were regular guests and speakers at the Aspen Institute Conferences and Ideas Festival. "2011 Speakers. Marcia Dyson", Aspen Ideas Festival. Dr. Dyson most recently hosted a television show, The Raw Word.


Dyson has taught at Chicago Theological Seminary, Brown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Columbia University, DePaul University, and the University of Pennsylvania.[3] Since 2007, he has been a Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. His 1994 book Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X became a New York Times notable book of the year.[8] In his 2006 book Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster, Dyson analyzes the political and social events in the wake of the catastrophe against the backdrop of an overall "failure in race and class relations".[9][10][11] In 2010, Dyson edited Born to Use Mics: Reading Nas's Illmatic, with contributions based on the album's tracks by, among others, Kevin Coval, Kyra D. Gaunt ("Professor G"), dream hampton, Marc Lamont Hill, Adam Mansbach, and Mark Anthony Neal.[12] Dyson's own essay in this anthology, "'One Love,' Two Brothers, Three Verses", argues that the current US penal system disfavors young black males more than any other segment of the population.[13][14] His last three books appeared repeatedly on the "New York Times" Bestseller list. Dyson hosted a radio show, which aired on Radio One, from January 2006 to February 2007. He is also a commentator on National Public Radio, MSNBC and CNN, and is a regular guest on Real Time with Bill Maher. Beginning July 2011 Michael Eric Dyson became a political analyst for MSNBC. He recently drew media attention for his speech at the funeral of Aretha Franklin on August 31, 2018.

The Michael Eric Dyson Show

The Michael Eric Dyson Show radio program debuted on April 6, 2009, and is broadcast from Morgan State University. The show's first guest was Oprah Winfrey,[15] to whom Dyson dedicated his book Can You Hear Me Now?: The Inspiration, Wisdom, and Insight of Michael Eric Dyson. The show appears to have been discontinued with its last episode being in December 2011.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Work Result
2004 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Non-Fiction Why I Love Black Women Winner[16]
2006 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Non-Fiction Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? Winner[16]
2007 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Non-Fiction Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster Nominee[17]
2007 American Book Award Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster Winner[18]
2018 Southern Book Prize- Non-Fiction Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America Winner[19]


Dyson's general philosophy is that American black people are continuing to suffer from generations of ongoing oppression. On Fox News with Tucker Carlson, Dyson suggested that white Americans (due to white privilege) should create individual reparation accounts and give money to local black communities[20]. During the Munk Debates of 2018, Dyson either claimed or endorsed the following statements: 1) the country is typically safer for white people than for people who are black, Latino, transgendered, etc., 2) success is easier for white people due to systemic privileges, and 3) white people should consider Individual Reparations as a way to challenge their white privilege. A more thorough exploration of this is available in his book Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America. St. Martin's Press. January 2017. </ref> [21].


In a 2018 debate with conservative Candace Owens on MSNBC's "The Beat," Dyson called Owens a "little girl."[22] Dyson has since apologized for doing so.[23]



  1. ^ Armstrong, Elizabeth (March 15, 2001). "The Pure Heart of Gangsta Rap". Chicago Reader. 
  2. ^ Michael E Dyson, Department of Sociology, Georgetown University
  3. ^ a b c d e Michael A. Fletcher (Spring 2000). "Michael Eric Dyson: A Scholar and a Hip-Hop Preacher.", The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.
  4. ^ "Michael Eric Dyson". Encyclopedia.jrank.org. 
  5. ^ Marie Arana (August 24, 2003). "Michael Eric Dyson. Telling It Any Way He Can.", The Washington Post.
  6. ^ Michael Eric Dyson (April 2, 2011). "Manning Marable: A Brother, a Mentor, a Great Mind." Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., The Root.
  7. ^ Staff (2007). "Biography: Dr. Michael Eric Dyson" Archived November 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Common Ground Foundation, board members.
  8. ^ Calvin Reid (February 21, 2000). "Interview. Michael Eric Dyson: Of Her s and Hip-hop. The real challenge of King's heroism is to make it a useful heroism", Publishers Weekly.
  9. ^ Austin Considine (February 5, 2006). "Disparities revealed in Katrina's wake / Race, class central to analysis of how nation failed victims", San Francisco Chronicle.
  10. ^ Staff (April 2006). "The center of the storm", Ebony.
  11. ^ Staff (January 16, 2006). "Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster", Publishers Weekly.
  12. ^ Michael Eric Dyson; Sohail Daulatzai (December 28, 2009). Born To Use Mics: Reading Nas's Illmatic. Basic Civitas Books. pp. v-vi. ISBN 978-0-465-00211-5. Retrieved 2011. 
  13. ^ Dyson; Daulatzai (2009). Born To Use Mics:. p. 131. Retrieved 2011. 
  14. ^ Alessandro Porco (May 2009). "'Time is Illmatic': A Critical Retrospective on Nas's Groundbreaking Debut", Postmodern Culture - Volume 19, Number 3.
  15. ^ Richard Prince (April 1, 2009). "Oprah to Inaugurate Michael Eric Dyson Radio Show" Archived November 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Maynard Institute. Richard Prince's Journal-isms(TM).
  16. ^ a b Staff. "NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Nonfiction" Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Harris County Public Library.
  17. ^ Williams, Kam (2007). "38th NAACP Image Awards (2007)". AALBC. Retrieved 2015. 
  18. ^ American Booksellers Association (2013). "The American Book Awards / Before Columbus Foundation [1980-2012]". BookWeb. Archived from the original on March 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013. 2007 [...] Michael Eric Dyson, Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster (Basic Books) 
  19. ^ Cite error: The named reference SIBA was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  20. ^ "Dyson: Whites should open individual reparation accounts". Feb 2, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Political Correctness: Be it resolved, what you call political correctness, I call progress...". Munk Debates. May 18, 2018. 
  22. ^ "How Trump's racial rhetoric echoes Pat Buchanan". 
  23. ^ "Michael Eric Dyson Apologizes After Combative Debate With Conservative Candace Owens". 
  24. ^ Lartigue, Casey, Jr. (December 25, 2005). "Black youth must think bigger". Black America Today. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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