|Born||Melissa Victoria Harris
October 2, 1973 
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Residence||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Education||Wake Forest University (B.A.)
Duke University (Ph.D.)
|Spouse(s)||Dennis Lacewell (1999–2005)
James Perry (2010–present)
Melissa Victoria Harris-Perry (born October 2, 1973; formerly known as Melissa Victoria Harris-Lacewell) is an American author, political scientist, television host and liberal political commentator with a focus on African-American politics. Harris-Perry hosts the Melissa Harris-Perry weekend news and opinion television show on MSNBC.
She is a professor of political science at Tulane University. Prior to that, she was an associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University from 2006 to 2010 and taught political science at the University of Chicago from 1999 to 2005.
Life and career 
Melissa Victoria Harris was born in Seattle and grew up in the Virginia cities of Charlottesville and Chester, where she attended Thomas Dale High School. She is the youngest of five children. Her black father, William M. Harris Sr., was dean of Afro-American affairs at the University of Virginia, and her white mother, Diana Gray, taught at a community college and worked for nonprofits that helped poor communities. Her mother was raised in a Mormon working-class family in a racially homogeneous neighborhood and went to college at Brigham Young University. After a failed first marriage, her mother left the LDS Church and was a single mother before she met Melissa's father. “I’ve never thought of myself as biracial,” Harris-Perry says. “I’m black.” Harris-Perry's family later became Unitarian Universalists.
She received a bachelor of arts in English from Wake Forest University in 1994 and a Ph.D. in political science from Duke University in 1999. She also received an honorary doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School. Motivated to better understand the role of the black church in political movements, she was a Master of Divinity student at Union Theological Seminary of New York City. Harris-Perry considers her Wake Forest mentor, Maya Angelou, to be her most important inspiration for becoming a professor. "As her student I watched as she influenced public discourse, taught students, and shared ideas in a way that seemed to truly matter for people’s lives."
Harris-Perry is the author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought on the methods African Americans use to develop political ideas through ordinary conversations in places like barbershops, churches, and popular culture. The work won the 2005 W.E.B. DuBois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and the 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. Her interests include the study of African-American political thought, black religious ideas and practice, and social and clinical psychology. Harris-Perry is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. In 2009, she was the key note speaker for the Unitarian Universalist Association on "Faith and Reason: Race, Justice, and American Political Life".
Harris-Perry was Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University from 2006 to 2010, leaving after being denied a full professorship. Currently she is Professor of Political Science at Tulane University.
She was married to Dennis Lacewell from 1999 to 2005, with whom she has a daughter. She currently lives in New Orleans and is married to James Perry, who was a 2010 candidate for mayor in New Orleans. In 2012, two days after the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Harris-Perry tweeted that the abandoned home in the 7th ward that she and her husband had bought and were restoring was destroyed during Hurricane Isaac.
MSNBC announced on January 5, 2012 that Harris-Perry would host her own weekend show, which began airing on February 18, 2012 at 10 a.m. EST. The show follows Up with Steve Kornacki and leads into Weekends with Alex Witt. According to The New York Times, Perry's schedule of commuting from New Orleans to New York City for each broadcast will be similar to, but less frequent than, fellow MSNBC personality Lawrence O'Donnell's weekly commute from Los Angeles to New York City for daily broadcasts of The Last Word.
- Harris-Lacewell, Melissa Victoria (2004). Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought (First ed.). Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-11405-7.
- Harris-Perry, Melissa V. (2011). Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-16541-8.
- Dougherty, Conor (January 10, 2011). "South Draws U.S. Blacks: Shift by African-Americans to Faster-Growing States Reflects a Broader Trend". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 19, 2011. "Melissa Harris-Perry, 37 years old"
- "About Melissa Harris-Perry". MelissaHarrisPerry.com. 2011. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
- Levin, Anne (October 10, 2007). "From House to Home". U.S. 1 Newspaper. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
- Williams, Michael Paul (February 6, 2011). "Chesterfield native, now MSNBC commentator, speaking at VCU". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
- Melissa Harris-Perry (2011-05), "Mother's Day Special: Melissa Harris-Perry", in Elena Rossini, No Country For Young Women, retrieved 2012-02-16
- Harris-Perry Gets Her Own Show
- Peter Montgomery (2011-05-31), "Melissa Harris-Perry: LGBT Advocates Need Public Progressive Faith", Religion Dispatches
- Jamal Eric Watson (2011-02-28), "Melissa Harris-Perry Leaving Princeton to Lead Race Center at Tulane", Diverse Issues in Higher Education, retrieved 2012-02-16
- Eve Richer, "Melissa, Professor and Writer", in Elena Rossini, No Country For Young Women, retrieved 2012-02-16
- (video/audio/transcript) Race and Gender in Presidential Politics. Interview with Amy Goodman. January 14, 2008. Democracy Now!. http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/14/race_and_gender_in_presidential_politics. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
- "Faith and Reason: Race, Justice, and American Political Life".
- Plump, Wendy (February 12, 2012). "Princeton Center for African American Studies loses two high-profile figures, but gains renewed sense of purpose". The Times of Trenton. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
- "Melissa Harris-Lacewell". NNDB. 2011. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
- Melissa Locker (August 30, 2012). "MSNBC Anchor Melissa Harris-Perry’s Home Destroyed By Hurricane Isaac". Time Newsfeed.
- Tommy Christopher (2012-01-05). "Melissa Harris-Perry To Host MSNBC Weekend Show Starting In February". Mediaite. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- Brian Stelter (January 5, 2012). "MSNBC Adding Another Political Talk Show on Weekends". The New York Times.
- Melissa Harris-Perry official website
- Melissa Harris-Perry on Twitter
- Column archive at The Nation
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Melissa Harris-Perry at the Internet Movie Database
- Works by or about Melissa Victoria Harris-Lacewell in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Melissa Harris-Lacewell at the Notable Names Database
- PBS interview (May 18, 2007)