City Paper is not for tourists
Last year, the pundits/authors/black intellectuals/men about town Tavis Smiley and Cornel West took to the road for a “Poverty Tour” of the country. (Don’t be thrown by the seeming formality of Dr. West’s signature black three-piece suit—he calls his attire “cemetery clothes,” explaining, “If you love poor people you better be coffin-ready.”) At the time, they spent a good chunk of the trip criticizing President Barack Obama for ignoring the plight of the poor. Even if it was low-hanging fruit, talking about poverty is important even as politicians focus on the shrinking or invisible middle class. West and Smiley’s tour of urban and rural poverty eventually gave them enough fodder to write a book, The Rich and the Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. And the book is a sign that we’ll be seeing lots more of the pair this year as they promote it. West better dry-clean his summer suit. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley sign copies of their book at noon at Barnes & Noble Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE. Free. barnesandnoble.com. (202) 289-1724.