“Historically, we have presented speakers whose work or life represents an aspect of Dr. King’s philosophy, and this year we chose Juan Williams who offers a less traditional viewpoint,” said Camille Giraud Akeju, director of the museum. “This very difficult economy and fractious political climate have yielded a variety of voices seeking to overcome the vexing problems of today. We are not monolithic and different approaches provide food for thought.”
A journalist for more than 25 years and a former Washington Post columnist and White House correspondent, Williams made international headlines recently after being released from his position as an NPR senior news correspondent over remarks he made on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor.
He has also written six books, including the New York Times best-seller, Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America—and What We Can Do About It, which ignited debate with its analysis of African American leadership, culture and the lessons of the civil rights movement.
He also wrote the best-selling book Eyes on the Prize—America’s Civil Rights Years, which accompanied the celebrated PBS series on the civil rights movement. His critically acclaimed biography of the nation’s first African American Supreme Court justice, titled Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary was selected by The New York Times as a notable book of the year. Described as a “magisterial” work of American history by Time magazine, American Revolutionary was reissued in 2004 with a new epilogue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic Board v. Brown decision.
He has also appeared on a range of TV news programs, including Meet the Press, Oprah, Inside Washington, Crossfire and America’s Black Forum and has also written for The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly and other national publications.
Gordy writes the popular “Obama Watch” blog for Esssence covering the policies and activities of the White House and Congress, quarterly magazine features and the monthly roundup page called “Ten Things We’re Talking About” covering 10 hot news stories. Named the National Association of Black Journalists’ 2009 Emerging Journalist of the Year and one of the NAACP’s 2010 “40 Under 40,” Gordy previously served as the news editor for Essence. Early in her career as a reporter for the magazine she covered high-profile events, including the Sean Bell trial, the Jena Six case, the Megan Williams torture case, the 2008 presidential campaign and wrote features on environmental racism and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The Anacostia Community Museum was opened in southeast Washington in 1967 as the nation’s first federally funded neighborhood museum. Renamed in 2006, it has expanded its focus beyond African American culture to documenting, interpreting and collecting objects related to the impact of historical and contemporary social issues on communities. For more information, the public may call (202) 633-4820, (202) 633-1000 or (202) 633-5285 (TTY). Website: anacostia.si.edu.