Photo of Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor wearing a black t-shirt with orange button-down top, gray hat and black-rimmed glasses

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Northeastern Illinois University is pleased to announce the speaker for the newly relaunched Presidential Lecture Series will be acclaimed author, historian and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

“An Evening with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor,” will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 in the Auditorium on the Main Campus, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. This event is free and open to the public. General admission tickets can be reserved at The lecture will also be livestreamed on

Taylor is one of the nation’s most prominent scholars on Black liberation politics, social movements and racial inequality. Her book, “Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership,” was a semifinalist for the 2019 National Book Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2020. In 2021, she was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship—informally known as the “genius grant”—and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Taylor earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University in 2007 through the Board of Governor’s program, known today as the Interdisciplinary Studies program. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University, where she is currently the Leon Forrest Professor of African American Studies.

Northeastern Illinois University’s Presidential Lecture Series was created in 1995 by President Emerita Salme Harju Steinberg to bring world-class authors and thinkers to the institution and invite the larger Chicago community to experience Northeastern Illinois University’s values in action. 

Previous Presidential Lecture Series speakers include:

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker (1998)
  • Scholar and activist Dr. Cornel West (2000) 
  • Navajo Code Talker Dr. Samuel Billison (2001)
  • Author Margaret Atwood (2002)
  • Primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall (2005)
  • Urban farmer and MacArthur Fellow Will Allen (2014)

The last Presidential Lecture Series was held in 2016. With the launch of the University’s new Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the intention is to once again make the Presidential Lecture Series a hallmark University event.