Condoleezza Rice to Speak at Central Library

Thursday, April 13, 2017
Courtney Lewis
Condoleezza Rice to Speak at Central Library

(Kansas City, Missouri) – Welcome, Condoleezza Rice, to the Kansas City Public Library.

The former secretary of state is making the Library one of the first stops on a tour accompanying the release of her new book, Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom, a sweeping examination of the continuing, often challenging pursuit of democracy around the world. She sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at the downtown Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., for a wide-ranging conversation that also figures to delve into her decorated, four-decade career in government and higher education and the impact of Rice’s childhood in civil rights-era Birmingham, Alabama.

The special presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.

Growing up in Birmingham, Rice saw and felt the ferment of the American civil rights movement (she was a friend of one of the four African-American schoolgirls killed in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church). She was a key figure in two presidential administrations, as national security adviser and secretary of state under George W. Bush, and has been on the front lines of some of the world’s epochal events – from German reunification and the collapse of the Soviet Union to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

At a time when many wonder if democracy is in decline, she explains in Democracy what those and other pivotal moments have taught us about the global struggle for freedom and why our country must remain its strongest proponent. The book is scheduled for release May 9.

Now teaching at Stanford University, Rice was the second woman and first African-American woman to serve as secretary of state. Before that, she was the first woman to hold the position of national security adviser.

She served as Stanford’s provost for nearly six years, from 1993-99, the youngest person, first African-American, and first woman to hold the university’s No. 2 position. She oversaw a $1.5 billion annual budget and an academic program encompassing 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students, and her oversight extended to the athletics department. 

The daughter of high school football coach, Rice was among the inaugural appointees to the committee that selects teams for the College Football Playoff, recently completing a three-year term.

She has authored and co-authored numerous books, including the best-selling No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington and Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family. 

Hers is the latest appearance of note at the Kansas City Public Library, which also has hosted Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, CBS news anchor Dan Rather, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, attorney and Brandeis University professor Anita Hill, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer David McCullough, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, among other speakers.