White House Correspondent April Ryan will give the Keynote Address at this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration program at Vanderbilt on Monday, January 21, 2019. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Series was established in 1985 at Vanderbilt University as a celebration of the life of Rev. Commemorating Rev. Dr. King’s life and legacy, the University community will gather together on this national holiday for a series of programs including: participation in the city-wide march, community service, educational forums and lectures. In honoring Rev. Dr. King, Vanderbilt University affirms its own commitment to the goals of peace and racial justice to which Rev. Dr. King dedicated his life. This year’s theme is: Our Lives. Our Movements. Our Responsibility.
April Ryan has a unique vantage point as the only black female reporter covering urban issues from the White House – a position she has held since the Clinton era. On behalf of the American Urban Radio Networks, and through her “Fabric of America” news blog, she delivers her readership and listeners (millions of African Americans and close to 300 radio affiliates) a “unique urban and minority perspective in news.” Her position as a White House Correspondent has afforded her unusual insight into the racial sensitivities, issues, and attendant political struggles of our nation’s last presidents. April can be seen almost daily on CNN as a political analyst. She has been featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Elle magazines – to name a few.
Ryan has served on the board of the prestigious White House Correspondents Association. She is one of only three African Americans in the Association’s over 100-year history to serve on its board. She is also an esteemed member of the National Press Club. In 2015, Ms. Ryan was nominated for an NAACP Image Award (Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author) for her first book. 2016 National Council of Negro Women, Mary McCloud Bethune Trailblazer.
April is a Baltimore native and Morgan State University graduate, and she gives back to this community by serving as a mentor to aspiring journalists, and assisting with developing “up and coming” broadcasters. April considers her greatest life’s work raising her two daughters, Ryan and Grace – who are phenomenal young women.
April Ryan is the author of the award winning book, THE PRESIDENCY IN BLACK AND WHITE, and her latest book, AT MAMA’S KNEE: MOTHERS AND RACE IN BLACK AND WHITE (December 2016), where she looks at race relations through the lessons and wisdom that mothers have given their children. A paperback version of THE PRESIDENCY IN BLACK AND WHITE – with updates about President Trump – will be published later this year.
The PRIDE will share details of the programs constituting this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Series in a future edition.