University to honor King with three-day celebration, writer Omar Tyree to give keynote address

Thursday, December 6, 2012

UNC Charlotte will commemorate the life, work and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a three-day celebration that includes a keynote address by award-winning writer Omar Tyree, a day of service and a film screening.

The 2013 celebration theme is “A Dream Attained, Deferred or Abandoned? An Examination of the 50 Years Since the March on Washington.” Tyree will speak about this topic at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22, in the Cone University Center, McKnight Hall.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Tyree won a 2001 NCAAP Image Award for Outstanding Literature in Fiction. In 2006, he received a Phillis Wheatley Literary Award for Body of Work in Urban Fiction, and in 2010, he won the 2010 HBCU Legends Award for his work in urban literacy.

While spending his first two years at the University of Pittsburgh, Tyree penned “The Diary of a Freshman” and the novels “Colored on White Campus” (now titled “College Boy”) and “Flyy Girl,” which spawned the genre of so-called “urban/street literature.”

After transferring to Howard University, Tyree completed a bachelor’s degree in print journalism in fall 1991. During his time at the institution, he created, produced and published “Food for Thought,” a student opinion column in the “Hilltop” newspaper. Upon graduation, he founded the publishing company MARS Productions. He then self-published and marketed his first three novels, including “Capital City”, which chronicled Washington, D.C.’s violent drug culture.

Since then, he has authored 16 novels, two short story books and one nonfiction book “The Equation” about entrepreneurship and business. He also founded and formed his own nonprofit arm of the Urban Literacy Project, where he highlights “The Five Key Components of Literacy” (Reading, Writing, Thinking, Visualization and Application).

On Friday, Jan. 18, the Office of Volunteer Outreach will host its annual "Into the Streets Day of Service." Volunteers will support several nonprofits and community organizations from 9 a.m. to noon. Transportation and lunch will be provided. Sign up in advance. For more information, contact Sean Langley, assistant director for off-campus and volunteer outreach in the Dean of Students Office.

The film "Making the Grade: Educators' 50-Year Review of Education and Access" will be screened at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Student Union Movie Theater.

UNC Charlotte's Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is free and open to the public. Following Tyree's Jan. 22 keynote address, there will be a reception in the Cone Center Lucas Room.

The MLK Day celebration is sponsored by the Multicultural Resource Center; more information is on the Web.