White House Correspondent April Ryan to be the keynote speaker at MLK Jr. Day celebration event

January 6, 2021 |

April Ryan is this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration speaker. The virtual event is at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 17. Ryan is a political analyst for CNN and a longtime White House correspondent.

April Ryan, a political analyst for CNN and a longtime White House correspondent, will be the keynote speaker for a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day event presented by Earlham College, Indiana University East, and the Richmond chapter of the NAACP.

The virtual event begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, with a keynote titled “We are not makers of history. We are made of history.” A question-and-answer session will follow at 7:45 p.m.

The talk will be delivered on Zoom and is free and open to the public. Registration is available at https://go.iu.edu/3wt4.

“April Ryan is well known and respected. Her fight to bring transparency to the White House and free flow of information to the public has been inspirational to many,” said Yemi Mahoney, chief diversity officer and special assistant to the chancellor at IU East.

“Given the fact that her position as a White House Correspondent has afforded her unusual insight into how the nation’s last four presidents have approached political struggles and issues of race and identity, I believe April’s address will be insightful and timely,” she said. “Now, on what will be the eve of the 35th anniversary of the first MLK Jr. Day, she will reflect on King’s legacy, our nation’s current inequalities and the role we can all play to help keep his dream alive.”

Ryan recently finished her tenure as the White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for the American Urban Radio Networks, a position she has held since the Bill Clinton administration. As the only Black reporter covering urban issues from the White House, her stories and insights reached millions of listeners on about 300 radio stations across the country and the “Fabric of America” news blog. She currently appears almost daily on CNN as a political analyst and has been featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Elle magazines.

She is the author of award-winning books, including The Presidency in Black and White and At Mama’s Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White. In the latter, Ryan looks at race relations through the lessons and wisdom that mothers have given their children. Her most recent book is Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House.

Ryan has served on the White House Correspondents Association board, one of only three African Americans to do so in the 100-year history of the organization. She is also a member of the National Press Club. In 2015, Ryan was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for outstanding literary work by a debut author. She was the recipient of the National Council of Negro Women Mary McLeod Bethune Trailblazer Award in 2016.  In 2019, she was named an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated. She was recognized as the 2019 Freedom of the Press Award Winner by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.