Activist and social critic Marc Lamont Hill will be the keynote speaker at Kent State’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration today.


The associate professor of English education and anthropology at Columbia University will speak at 2:10 p.m. at the Student Center ballroom on the Kent campus.


The theme for the 10th annual event is “Empowering the Individual, Strengthening the Community” and is free and open to the public.


The day’s events also will include a cultural celebration from 1 to 1:45 p.m. in the Student Center Kiva. Hill will sign his 2009 book, Beats, Rhymes and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity, at 4 p.m. on the ballroom balcony. The book is available for purchase at the KSU bookstore.


Hill was a political commentator for Fox News from 2007 to 2009 and has been a regular commentator on MSNBC, CNN and Court TV.


Hill is a founding board member of My5th, a nonprofit that aims to teach underprivileged youth about their legal rights and responsibilities. In 2001, he began to use hip-hop culture to start a literacy project with the goal of increasing student commitment to education.


For details about the KSU celebration, call 330-672-8563.