MU Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. 2014
Actor, Author and Youth Advocate
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014
Reception from 6–7 p.m.
Presentation from 7–8:30 p.m.
Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth Street
This event is free and open to the MU and Columbia Community.
Hill Harper discovered early on that education was the key to unlocking potential and opening doors. He pursued his education with an enthusiasm and determination that resulted in him graduating Magna Cum Laude from Brown University, and later led him to earn graduate degrees in law and public administration from Harvard. After achieving his academic goals, Harper began to pursue his career in acting with the same discipline he exhibited in the classroom. His hard work paid off as he now appears in the hit drama "CSI: New York," in a role that has earned him two NAACP Image Awards. As a star of one of television’s most popular and enduring franchises, Harper has become highly familiar with “The CSI Effect,” a phenomenon where forensic science’s portrayal on TV affects the mindset of all participants in the criminal justice system, including the victims and criminals themselves. Harper, drawing on his educational background and experience on "CSI: NY," explains the myths and realities of forensic criminal investigation.
Prior to his current series, Harper appeared in "City of Angels" and "The Handler," and guest-starred on such top shows as "Soul Food," "The Sopranos," "ER", "NYPD Blue," and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." An accomplished film actor as well, he recently starred in the HBO movie "Lackawanna Blues" and received critical acclaim for his performance in the independent film "The Visit." He has also appeared in "In Too Deep," "Beloved," "He Got Game," "Get on the Bus," "Zooman," and "One Red Rose," which he co-wrote for Showtime. Harper was acknowledged as one of People magazine’s “Sexiest Men Alive.” Harper has always known that personal achievement is only part of success; to be truly successful is to help others accomplish their goals.
A volunteer and spokesman for Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Hill understands how difficult it is to stay on the straight path in life, and that our youth don’t always have the tools to do the right thing even when they want to. This understanding is what drove Harper to a embark upon a new path as an author. In 2006, he wrote The New York Times bestselling book "Letters to a Young Brother," in an effort to provide encouragement and guidance to young African American men who are still trying to find their way. He speaks in a language to which they can relate and shares advice that can be put into practice. "Letters to a Young Brother" provides examples of perseverance in the face of struggle and hope for a better future. Following the success of the first book, he wrote the companion book, "Letters to a Young Sister," also a New York Times Bestseller, engaging some of the strongest female voices of this generation to help him convey a message of hope, education, and commitment for young sisters. He has been awarded an additional three NAACP Image awards for his literary accomplishments: Outstanding Literary Work: Youth/Teens and Outstanding Literary Work: Debut Author. Harper's newest book, The Conversation, explores the nature of love across generations and the current state of male-female relations. It offers practical solutions on how to improve communication across gender and age. Today, he continues in his efforts to better America's social climate and guide our youth as a strong and articulate voice for hope, education, and commitment.