Friday, February 16, 2007

For Tavis Smiley, Promises to Keep

I'm embarassed to confess I'd never heard of Travis Smiley, but I just ordered both of his books.  It sounds like he has a great message.
February 15, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

For Tavis Smiley, Promises to Keep

One of the better-kept secrets in the U.S. is the wide reach and extraordinary commitment of Tavis Smiley.

Mr. Smiley is reasonably well known as a media personality. He’s the host of a television talk show broadcast on PBS five nights a week and a weekly radio show. He’s also a regular commentator on the widely syndicated black-oriented radio program “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.”

But that doesn’t begin to capture the ever-widening swirl of activities, projects, programs and initiatives set in motion by this energetic, fast-talking, charismatic advocate and mentor, described by The Times’s Felicia R. Lee as “a cultural phenomenon.”

Largely out of the sight of the broader public, Mr. Smiley has quietly become one of the most effective black leaders in the nation. He’s always in motion, giving speeches, meeting with national leaders, conducting annual seminars on the “State of the Black Union” and offering how-to tips on important aspects of daily life for African-Americans.

Mr. Smiley constantly exhorts his followers and admirers to make better use of the traditional tools of advancement — education, hard work, citizen activism — to transcend the barriers of continued neglect and discrimination.

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