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Melissa Harris-Perry

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Information about Melissa Harris-Perry

Profile image of Melissa Harris-Perry

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Television Host
Political Science Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Tiffany Blue
Favorite Food:
Red Velvet Cake
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Barcelona, Spain
Favorite Quote:
The Struggle Continues

Birthplace

Born:
10/2/1973
Birth Location:
Seattle, Washington

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Television Host
Political Science Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Tiffany Blue
Favorite Food:
Red Velvet Cake
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Barcelona, Spain
Favorite Quote:
The Struggle Continues

Birthplace

Born:
10/2/1973
Birth Location:
Seattle
See how Melissa Harris-Perry is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Television host and political science professor Melissa Victoria Harris-Perry was born on October 2, 1973 in Seattle, Washington. Her father, William M. Harris, Sr., was the first dean of African American Affairs at the University of Virginia; her mother, Diana Gray, primarily worked for nonprofit organizations, colleges, and state government agencies. Harris-Perry was raised in both Charlottesville and Chesterfield County, Virginia, and attended Thomas Dale High School. She received her B.A. degree in English from Wake Forest University in 1994 and her Ph.D. degree in political science from Duke University in 1999. She also studied theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Harris-Perry first taught at the University of Chicago, and then as an associate professor in the department of Politics at Princeton University. In 2011, she was hired as a professor of political science at Tulane University, where she also founded the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. In 2012, she became host of “Melissa Harris-Perry” on MSNBC. In July of 2014, Harris-Perry returned to her alma mater, Wake Forest University, where she was named the presidential chair professor of politics and international affairs. She also directs the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University.

Harris-Perry’s 2004 book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, won the 2005 W. E. B. Du Bois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. She released her second book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, in 2011. She has also been published in scholarly journals and edited volumes, and authored a monthly column entitled “Sister Citizen” for The Nation magazine.

In 2009, Harris-Perry became the youngest scholar to deliver the W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures at Harvard University. Also, in 2009, she delivered the prestigious Ware Lecture, becoming the youngest woman to ever do so. Harris-Perry served as a trustee of The Century Foundation and sat on the advisory board for Chef's Move!. She has received honorary doctorate degrees from Meadville Lombard Theological School and Eckerd College.

Harris-Perry is married to James Perry, and is the mother of two daughters, Parker and Anna James.

Melissa Harris-Perry was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2014.

See how Melissa Harris-Perry is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Melissa Harris-Perry's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Melissa Harris-Perry lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her family's history of polygamy as well as her parents' previous marriages
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her family and godmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her family's Christmas traditions
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her childhood experience in the Unitarian Universalist Church
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her childhood understanding of her own racial identity
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her current occupation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about the relationships between her mother, father, and godmother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about how her white stepsister experienced racism because of Harris-Perry's mixed race
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Melissa Harris-Perry shares the lessons she learned from her father, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Melissa Harris-Perry shares the lessons she learned from her father, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her relationship with her father, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her relationship with her father, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her relationship with her white stepsister
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her teachers, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her teachers, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about what she wanted to be as a child
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her decision to attend Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes what influenced her feminism
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her experience at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes enrolling at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina for graduate school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her doctoral dissertation and her first book
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about establishing the NIA House at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes how her feminism changed her identity as a black nationalist
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her experience as a rape survivor
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her friendship with Blair Kelley and teaching at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her experience as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes the beginning of her career in the media
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her career as an academic at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois and at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her mother's role in helping to raise her daughter
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her experience at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her experience at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Melissa Harris-Perry describes her experience at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, New York