Author and scholar Adolph L. Reed Jr. will deliver the Black History Month keynote address at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 13, in the Old Main Room of the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University.

The event is part of the Illinois State University Speaker Series. Sponsored by Illinois State’s Office of the President and the Department of History, the talk is free and open to the public.

The address will center on the 40th anniversary of the Atlanta Child Murders. From 1979-1981 the city in Georgia was terrorized by a serial killer who abducted and killed two dozen black children, almost all of whom were boys. No one was ever convicted of the crime, though authorities pointed to a man imprisoned for two adult murders, Wayne Williams. Controversy around the investigation continues, as do the accusations of ignoring possible involvement of the KKK.

Working toward a doctorate at Atlanta University during the time of the Atlanta Child Murders, Reed served as a policy analyst and speech writer for Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, the city’s first black mayor. During the Atlanta Child Murders, Reed served as director of research and interns in the Department of the Mayor.

Reed is a professor emeritus of political science from the University of Pennsylvania. His research explores black American politics, urban politics, and race. His books include The Jesse Jackson Phenomenon, W. E. B. Du Bois and American Political Thought, Stirrings in the Jug, Class Notes, and Renewing Black Intellectual History. Reed’s expertise is sought internationally on political issues. He is a frequent contributor for The Guardian, The Progressive, and The Nation. Currently he authors a regular column in the New Republic.

Before arriving at the University of Pennsylvania, Reed also taught at the New School for Social Research, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University, Yale University, Clark College in Atlanta, and Howard University. During his career, he received grants and fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Reed’s involvement also spans efforts for voting rights, anti-war organizing, the labor movement, and the Campaign for Free Public Higher Education.

The Illinois State University Speaker Series seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process.