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Journalist, Actor Share Stage for King Day Celebration

November 21, 2006 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Clarence Page and acclaimed stage, screen and television actor Harry Lennix, a Northwestern University alumnus, will be the featured speakers at the University's commemoration of the life and legacy of the late civil and human rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Northwestern has suspended classes on Monday, Jan. 15, 2007, on both campuses for a University-wide, full day observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The celebration will include a series of events and talks on both campuses.

Speaking on the Evanston campus, Page will open the King celebration and Lennix will close it with their respective addresses. Page will speak at a midday observance at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive. Lennix will speak at the evening Alpha Phi Alpha Candlelight Vigil at Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road.

The Pick-Staiger celebration will include music and performance from Northwestern student groups.

Clarence Page, a nationally syndicated columnist and member of the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, in 1989 won a Pulitzer Prize for his commentary. He writes frequently on topics of race and African American identity. His 1996 book "Showing My Color: Impolite Essays on Race and Identity,” according to a Washington Post Book World review, is “a penetrating, often moving collection of original essays on American race relations….Page, a skilled essayist, handles his subjects with a balance and complexity rarely found in contemporary discussions.”

Page, who was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame, is a regular contributor of essays to “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer” and “News and Notes with Ed Gordon” on National Public Radio. He has hosted documentaries on the Public Broadcasting Service and served as a regular panelist on national programs including ABC's “This Week” and BET's weekly “Lead Story” news panel program.

Page was a reporter and assistant city editor for the Chicago Tribune from 1969 to 1980. He joined WBBM-TV in August 1980 as director of the Community Affairs Department and worked as a reporter and planning editor at the station from August 1982 to July 1984.

Page's awards include a 1980 Illinois UPI award for community service for an investigative series titled “The Black Tax” and the Edward Scott Beck Award for overseas reporting of a 1976 series on the changing politics of Southern Africa.

He received a lifetime achievement award in 2004 from the National Association of Black Journalists.

Harry Lennix, an accomplished film, television and stage actor, also has gained a national reputation for his eloquence on political and racial issues, including the contemporary civil rights agenda.

A Chicago native, Lennix is well known for his recent role as "the chief of staff" for "President Geena Davis" in ABC's political drama "Commander in Chief." He has starred in several movies, including the Oscar-winning film "Ray" (2004), "Barbershop 2: Back in Business" (2004), The Matrix Reloaded” (2003), “The Matrix Revolutions” (2003), "The Human Stain" (2003) "Love & Basketball” (2000) and "Get on the Bus" (1996). He made his mark on the small screen with his role as the legendary Adam Clayton Powell Jr. in Showtime cable network's "Keep the Faith, Baby” (2002).

Lennix has directed and appeared in stage productions across the country and was the first distinguished recipient of an Ollie Award for his portrayal of Malcom X at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. He founded Legacy Productions with renowned theatrical director Chuck Smith in 1989. The company is dedicated to promoting significant works about the African American Experience.

Lennix received his undergraduate degree in 1986 from Northwestern's School of Communication.

Topics: Campus Life