President Obama recently presented National Humanities Medals to 12 Americans. One of the 12 winners is an African American
Anna Deavere Smith is an actress and playwright and University Professor in the Department of Performance Studies in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Two of Professor Smith’s best-known works are the one-woman plays about racial tensions she wrote and performed: Fires in the Mirror (Obie Award winner and runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize) and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (Obie Award winner and Tony Award nominee).
Professor Smith has appeared in several television shows and feature films and is the author of several books, including Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines and Letters to a Young Artist. She has appeared in the film The American President (1995) and the television series The West Wing and Nurse Jackie.
Smith is a graduate of what is now Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, and earned a master of fine arts degree from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California.