At eight years old West decided he wanted to go to Harvard University like President Teddy Roosevelt, with whom he identified. West was impressed by the Black Baptist Church, the parishoners of which, only two generations from slavery, told stories of African-Americans maintaining their religious faith during the most trying of times. West was attracted to the commitment of the Black Panthers. From the Panthers West began to understand the importance of community-based political action.
West graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in three years. He then went to Princeton, where he received his M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1980). This fall, West will return to Harvard as a professor in the department of Afro-American studies. Previously, West was professor of religion and director of the Afro-American studies department at Princeton.
West's lecture, cosponsored by the Office of Black Student Affairs, will be in McKenna Auditorium. Due to the popularity of this speaker, dinner reservations are for CMC and the Office of Black Student Affairs only. OBSA reservations will be handled through their office. No reservations are needed to attend the 6:45 p.m. lecture in McKenna Auditorium, which is open to all.