Framingham State announces speakers in upcoming Voices of Color series

Framingham State University recently announced the three speakers it is featuring in year’s Olivia A. Davidson Voices of Color lecture series.

The annual series presents talks by prominent people of color on topics relating to race in the United States, according to Dan Magazu, the university’s communications director.

The 2020 program kicks off on Feb. 19 with a lecture by Clint Smith, an African-American writer, poet, and scholar whose 2017 poetry collection, “Counting Descent,” was a finalist for the NAACP Image Awards. His talk will push the audience to wrestle with complicated truths of American history.

On April 2, acclaimed Mexican author Reyna Grande will share her story of how she arrived in the United States at age 9 as an undocumented immigrant and went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college, and how she went on to write a memoir, “The Distance Between Us,” that was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.


The series concludes on April 7 with a talk by Raymond Santana about his experience as one of the group of teenagers — referred to as the “Central Park 5” and more recently as the “Exonerated Five” — who were wrongly convicted and jailed for the rape and assault of a jogger in Central Park in 1989. Santana was 14 years old and spent five years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

All the talks are free and open to the public. Begun in 2018, the series is named for Olivia A. Davidson, an 1881 Framingham State graduate who became an educator. Davidson assisted Booker T. Washington — whom she later married — in founding the Tuskegee Institute, in Alabama.

John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.