Charles BlowSubmitted photo

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Charles M. Blow, media expert, social and political commentator, educator and author, will be the keynote speaker at NU’s commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The annual program will be held this year at 6 p.m. on Jan. 25 in Ryan Auditorium, 2145 Sheridan Road. The annual program will include music and performances from Northwestern student groups.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Mr. Blow is an Op-Ed columnist at the New York Times. His columns tackle hot-button issues such as social justice, racial equality, presidential politics, police violence, gun control and the Black Lives Matter movement. He is a CNN commentator and was a Presidential Visiting Professor at Yale, where he taught a seminar on media and politics.

He is author of the New York Times bestselling memoir “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” which won a Lambda Literary Award and the Sperber Prize and made multiple prominent lists of best books published in 2014.

Mr. Blow joined the New York Times in 1994 as a graphics editor and quickly became the paper’s graphics director, garnering several national and international awards for information graphics. He also served as design director for news before leaving in 2006 to become the art director of National Geographic Magazine. Before going to the Times, he worked at The Detroit News.

Mr. Blow graduated magna cum laude from Grambling State University in Louisiana with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and holds an honorary doctorate from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. He lives in Brooklyn and has three children.