2015 Keynote Speaker
Deuel Ross is an attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. (LDF). Prior to joining LDF, Deuel spent two years at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, working on complex commercial and civil rights litigation. He co-authored amicus briefs in several recent LDF Supreme Court cases, including Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, and Magner v. Gallagher. He received his J.D. from the university of Pennsylvania Law School.
2014 Keynote Speaker
Reverend Everett D. Mitchell, J.D., is Director of Community Relations at UW-Madison, served as pastor of Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church, and adjunct professor at Edgewood College. He previously served as Assistant District Attorney in Dane County and has co-authored a book and published a number of articles. He was also awarded the Urban League of Greater Madison's Young Professional of the Year Award
2013 Keynote Speaker
Rodney E. Slater is the Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation (1997-2001). He helps clients at Patton Boggs integrate their interests in the overall vision for transportation system of the 21st Century-a vision he set, as transportation secretary to promote a more safe efficient, environ-mentally sound and sustainable worldwide transportation infrastructure. Previous to his tenure as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Mr. Slater served as Director of The Federal Highway Administration, the agency's first African-American Administrator .
2012 Keynote Speaker
Joanne Bland is co-founder and former director of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Alabama. During her lifetime she has been a witness and participant in some of our nation's most consequential civil rights battles, after beginning civil rights activism in 1961 as an eight-year-old. Currently, Mrs. Bland is owner and operator of Journeys For The Soul, a touring agency that specializes in Civil Rights tours with a major focus on Selma, Alabama.
2011 Keynote Speaker
Charles A. Harvey joined Johnson Controls in 1977 as a technical recruiter. In 1984, Harvey founded Boch Plastic and served as vice president of Operations. Harvey rejoined Johnson Controls in 1991 and held positions of increasing responsibility before being named Group Vice President, Human Resources, global Automotive Experience business.
2010 Keynote Speaker
Dr. Stafford Hood is the Sheila M. Miller Professor of Education and head of thedepartment of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois. Dr. Hood haspreviously served in the following capacities: Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Psychology in Education, Arizona State University; Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, Northern Illinois University.
2009 Keynote Speaker
Dennis W. Archer, Chairman of Dickinson Wright, a Detroit-based law firm, sits on several corporate and non profit boards as well as the board of trustees for Western Michigan University. Archer served two terms as mayor of the city of Detroit (1994-2001). Archer has long been active in the organized bar and was the first African Ameri-can elected president of the American Bar Association.
2008 Keynote Speaker
In 1991, Sterling Johnson, Jr. took the bench as a Federal District Judge in the Eastern District of New York. In 1993, he became the first federal judge to rule that the U.S. Constitution applies to Guantanamo, Cuba, declaring that the indefinite holding of Haitian asylum-seekers at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base under adverse conditions and without access to attorneys was a "tragedy of immense proportion and their continued detainment is totally unacceptable..."
2007 Keynote Speaker
As poet, publisher, editor and educator, Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti serves as a pivotal figure in the development of a strong Black literary tradition. Over the years, he has published over 25 books (some under his former name, Don L. Lee) and is one of the world's best-selling authors of poetry and non-fiction. Dr. Madhubuti, is: founder, publisher, and chair-man of Third World Press.
2006 Keynote Speaker
Dr. Juan Andrade is President of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI). The Institute has trained over 200,000 present and future leaders, registered over two million new voters, and published 425 studies on Hispanic demographics, since 1982. USHLI also sponsors the largest Latino leadership
2005 Keynote Speaker
Charles J. Ogletree, J.D., is an internationally known scholar in the areas of Race and Criminal Justice. Currently, Ogletree carries three major titles at Harvard University: Jessee Climenko Professor of Law; Vice Dean for Clinical Programs; Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.
2004 Keynote Speaker
The late Dr. Ronald Walters carried three major titles at the University of Mar-yland: Director, African American Leadership Institute and ScholarPractitioner Program; Distinguished Leadership Scholar, James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership; professor, government and politics. He also authored over 100 articles and six books.
2003 Keynote Speaker
The late Dr. Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs, was an influential voice of African-American culture and tradition for more than six decades. She was honored by former President Jimmy Carter as one of America's finest artists, and her famous poem, "What Should I Tell My Children Who are Black?" has appeared in many school textbooks. Burroughs was the co-founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago.
2002 Keynote Speaker
Kwame Salter joined Kraft-Oscar Mayer Foods Corporation in 1986 and retired in 2007 as Vice President, Human Resources, Sales and Customer Service. Kwame has received the "Outstanding Recent Alumni" award from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He received his Masters Degree from UW-Madison, where he was awarded a Ford Fellowship for post graduate studies in Education Policy Research.
2001 Keynote Speaker
During the Johnson administration, Roger Wilkins served as assistant attorney general. Wilkins holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan. He has written for the New York Times, The Washington Post and the Washington Star. While on the editorial staff of the Washington Post, he shared a Pulitzer prize in 1972 for Watergate coverage with Woodward, Bernstein and Herblock
2000 Keynote Speaker
Gregory D. Stanford, an editorial writer and columnist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, started at the Milwaukee Journal in 1971 as a reporter, and joined the Journal's Editorial Board in 1988. In 1995, he joined the board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Stanford won the 1993 National Headliner Award for column writing.
1999 Keynote Speaker
The late Dr. Marcus Alexis was the Board of Trustees Professor of Economics and Professor of Management and Strategy at Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Evanston, Illinois. Alexis previously served as President of the National Economic Association.
1998 Keynote Speaker
Ernest G. Green was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he and eight other black students would later be known as the "Little Rock Nine." Green graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Social Sciences, and a Master's in Sociology. He also received Honorary Doctorates from Tougaloo College, Central State University, and Michigan State University.
1997 Keynote Speaker
As President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Joseph Lowery led the organization he co-founded with Martin Luther King, Jr. and others, to greater effectiveness and increased visibility. Lowery led campaigns against the Ku Klux Klan, police brutality, and disparities in employment, job training, and economic opportunities for African Americans.
1996 Keynote Speaker
The late Reverend Dr. Floyd Prude, Jr. was Vice-Chairman of New Directions Management Services, Inc., a consulting and training firm. The following were highlights of Dr. Prude's career: Recipient, Doctorate of Divinity Degree from Beloit College; Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Beloit; Founding Member and President, Greater Beloit Minority Coalition.
1995 Keynote Speaker
As an activist, veteran of over 20 years in the Georgia General Assembly, writer, and speaker, Julian Bond has been on the cutting edge of social change since 1960. Bond was a founder, in 1960, of the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee (SNCC).
1994 Keynote Speaker
In 1983, President Reagan fired Mary Frances Berry along with other Commissioners on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who were outspoken critics of the Administration's civil rights policies. She sued, won the suit, and was reinstated by a Federal District Court.
1993 Keynote Speaker
Nikki Giovanni helped to reestablish Fisk University's chapter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) prior to completing her Bachelor of Arts degree. Giovanni is a noted author who has published well over 100 books, collections of poetry, short stories, recordings, essays, and anthologies.
1992 Keynote Speaker
Carlton Thompson is a songwriter, singer, and producer who has won the WAMI Artist of the Year award three times. He has worked with severalGrammy winners, from pop singer Michael Bolton to gospel stars BeBe and CeCe Winans.
1991 Keynote Speaker
Dr. Bernard C. Watson, former President and CEO of the William Penn Foundation, previously served as a teacher, counselor, and principal in the public schools of Indiana, deputy superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, and academic president at Temple University. In 1967, he was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the National Advisory Council on Education Professions Development.
1990 Keynote Speaker
Reverend Dr. Kenneth B. Smith is Senior Fellow of the Chicago Community Trust, Chicago's Community Foundation. Previously, he served as President of the Chicago Theological Seminary. Smith, an ordained minister who has served three churches, in Chicago, also served as Chairman of the Boards of the Chicago UrbanLeague and the Community Renewal Society.