Smiley says, ‘The Train Stops Here’

By Monique Heath, Contributing Writer

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

One of the most prominent journalists and national radio and television personalities, Tavis Smiley, took the podium at Central State University Oct. 14, 2005. Nearly a thousand students packed Robeson Auditorium to participate in Smiley’s Talented Tenth HBCU Tour.

Smiley delivered an inspirational talk about the importance of being a leader and then took questions from an enthusiastic audience.

“Leadership really is service. It is understanding how to be a servant” Smiley said.

Smiley calls his tour the “Talented Tenth” in honor of sociologist W.E.B. Dubois, who saw higher education as a way of grooming future black leaders.

Geared towards young adults, Smiley discussed the characteristics of successful leaders, how to become a leader, and how to leverage your skills for future success.

Smiley’s tour was designed to “enlighten, encourage, and empower” young adults to become effective leaders in their communities, schools, and the world.

Smiley said that young African Americans have played a key role in American history. The Civil Rights Movement would not have been a success, “had it not been for the involvement and engagement of young people,” Smiley said. “The movement would have faltered.”

Smiley said it’s time now for the post-civil rights generation to assume a leadership role in the United States. He said the nation desperately needs leaders.

Smiley has been named by Time magazine as one of America’s 50 most promising young leaders. Newsweek profiled him as one of 20 people changing how Americans get their news and dubbed him one of the nation’s “captains” of the airwaves.

Central State’s radio station, WCSU 88.9 FM, broadcasts Smiley’s radio program every Friday at 11 a.m.

Many students enjoyed Smiley’s speech, calling it “enlightening,” “inspirational,” and “empowering.” Central State senior Jasper Person agreed with much of what Smiley said. “How can one lead if he has never followed, and how can one follow if he has never served?”

Smiley left the studens with a question: “Are you one of the talented tenth?”


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