The author of a book that traces the role of Hollywood celebrities in boosting the civil rights movement will speak at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4, in a virtual event at Middle Tennessee State University.

Emilie Raymond, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who specializes in 20th century American politics and culture, is author of "Stars for Freedom: Hollywood, Black Celebrities, and the Civil Rights Movement." 

The book focuses on six celebrities —  Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Sammy Davis Jr., Dick Gregory, and Sidney Poitier — who risked their careers by crusading for racial equality. They helped advance the civil rights movement, including by raising money for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legal defense, leading membership drives for the NAACP, and personally engaging with workaday activists to boost morale.

Raymond, for example, explores how Davis' controversial public image allowed him to raise

more money for the movement

Emilie Raymond.jpg
Emilie Raymond

than any other celebrity.

The event is sponsored by the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University.