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Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! James, Parker and I enjoyed a fantastic holiday season with family, friends, and tons of travel. I am hoping that each of you are also bathed in the light of joy as we get ready to begin a brand new year.

For me 2011 was a professional whirlwind. I began my new job as Professor of Political Science at Tulane University. The move to Tulane has been wonderful. Every interaction with my diligent, smart, and committed students reminds me of why I made this move. I am so thrilled to be living in New Orleans and teaching at Tulane.

During the second half of the year I had multiple opportunities to serve as a guest host for both The Rachel Maddow Show and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC. I found hosting primetime, cable news (even as a temporary guest) to be some of the most engaging, exciting, and exhausting work I have ever been privileged to do.

My new book, Sister Citizen, was published this fall. It has received some incredibly positive reviews. Sister Citizen is the written work of which I am most proud in my life. And of course the lectures and travel continued at a frenetic pace in 2011. I have only five American states left to visit: North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska and Hawaii. Maybe I'll get them all in by the end of 2012.

Speaking of travel, my beloved husband, James and I managed a lot of great travel this year--Paris, Rome, Venice, Cancun, Germany, Mexico and the extraordinary Barcelona!

Still, there is no place like home, and James' important work here in New Orleans is still the motivating issue of our lives here. As executive director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, James had several huge civil rights victories this year, including a $62 million settlement in the Road Home case.

Parker is flourishing in fourth grade. She played on the soccer team this fall and discovered a love of competitive team sport. She continues to amaze us daily with her humor and insight.

I am excited as we approach the busy 2012 election year. We will all have so much to do to make this country we love a better and fairer place.


On December 15 the Trenton Crisis Ministry was destroyed by fire. During our NJ years, we had a close connection with the Crisis Ministry. They do amazing work and this fire was devastating. Please consider a donation to assist in their efforts to rebuild and reopen.


The Santa Claus Test
The Nation
December 21, 2011

In 1897, Virginia O’Hanlon was reassured by the editorial page of the Sun, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” As a former Civil War correspondent, Francis Church had known suffering, agony and hopelessness. Still, the hardened journalist insisted on the veracity of Santa Claus as resistance to unchecked skepticism, small-mindedness and joyless empiricism. Virginia had conflicting sources of information. Her father was a believer. Her little friends were not. But Church’s editorial settled the matter for Virginia because “Papa says, if you see it in the Sun, it’s so.”

Read the Full Article
Herman Cain: What Hi-Tech Lynching?
The Nation
November 16, 2011

It is too early to tell if the charges of sexual harassment against Herman Cain will sink his candidacy. At press time, polls indicate that his support has eroded somewhat, but more than two weeks after the story broke, Cain is still in the top tier of GOP presidential candidates. And media criticism surrounding the allegations seems aimed at his campaign’s bungled attempts to manage the crisis rather than at the shocking charges themselves. Despite the typically explosive alchemy of race and sexuality, the details of the charges seem to have elicited little more than a shrug. In the context of American history, that a black man accused of sexual aggression by white women would remain a viable candidate for the presidential nomination is, frankly, breathtaking.

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TV Appearances

Discussion of Sister Citizen at Hue-Man Bookstore in NYC
Book TV
December 2011

Don't Dislike Romney Because He's Mormon
The Maddow Blog
November 24, 2011

Why $40 Matters: Impact of the Payroll Tax Cut
The Last Word
December 21, 2011

Protect the Rich, Attack the Poor
Politics Nation
September 1, 2011

Why Believing in Santa Matters to Democracy
The Last Word
December 22, 2011

- December 2011 -
About Melissa
Melissa Harris-Perry is professor of political science at Tulane University, where she is founding director of the Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. Her academic research is inspired by a desire to investigate the challenges facing contemporary black Americans and to better understand the multiple, creative ways that African Americans respond to these challenges. She is also an award winning author and appears regularly on MSNBC and other media venues.
Learn More...
Other Media Mentions
Teaching for Change: Melissa Harris-Perry on Sister Citizen

Maslow's Peak Influential Individual
MHP Monthly Archives
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Speaking Engagements and Public Appearances
Annette Luba-Lucas