Hill Harper

UNM Africana Studies kicks off Black History Month with a brunch on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 11 a.m. in the Student Union Building ballrooms A, B and C. The brunch speaker is acclaimed actor, author and youth advocate Hill Harper.

"Africana Studies has created and hosted a Black History Month Kickoff Brunch annually for more than 25 years. The brunch has featured renowned civil rights leaders, activists, political leaders, artistic fellows and economic powerhouses from the Black community. Also, 2013 is a milestone year as it marks the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation," said Alfred Mathewson, interim director, Africana Studies and professor of law, UNM School of Law.

Harper was named Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series in 2008 and 2009 by the NAACP Image Awards for his television role on CSI: NY. 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 starred in the HBO movie Lackawanna Blues and received critical acclaim for his performance in the independent film The Visit. He 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 graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Brown University and cum laude with a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He also holds an M.A. in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government. 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, Harper 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 embark upon the path of being an author.

Harper wrote the bestsellers Letters to a Young Brother, which won two NAACP awards and was named a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association in 2007, and New York Times bestseller, Letters to a Young Sister. His latest work, The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place, helps readers discover how to put money in its place and use wealth-building as a tool for joy and fulfillment.

Tickets for the brunch are $30 and are available at: UNM Ticketing Services or by calling the UNM Ticket Office at (505) 925-5858 or toll free at (877) 664-8661. For table sales, contact Alfred Mathewson or call (505) 277-5820.

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; email: cgonzal@unm.edu