President Obama to Headline Sharpton’s NAN Convention

We spoke to the civil rights leader about how his organization’s agenda has changed since the last time the president spoke at this annual event.

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TR: The agenda includes a lot of input from academics from the legal field and the social sciences, and even a "black intellectuals" panel. Why is it important to include their views?

AS: I think that its importance is a two-way street. We need to hear what academics think, and we want them to put things in perspective. Historically, where are we? How should we be looking at these times? How would people 50 and 100 years ago be looking at us?

They have the intellect to contextualize it. And they need to hear from the NAN delegates because there are many times they're in ivory towers and they may talk about people they never talk to or have an understanding [of] beyond what they see in the news.

Jenée Desmond-Harris is The Root’s senior staff writer. Follow her on Twitter.