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Join Michael Zeldin for this important conversation with Bakari Sellers. Named one of Time Magazine’s 40 under 40, Sellers became the youngest-ever African American elected official when sworn into the South Carolina State Legislature at the age of 22 in 2006. After earning a BA at Morehouse and JD at the Univ. of South Carolina, Sellers has taken up the causes of his father, Dr. Cleveland Sellers, the renowned civil rights leader. His recent book, My Vanishing Country, a memoir, charts his extraordinary journey from Denmark, South Carolina to the State Legislature, to CNN, where he is one of the most important voices in the movement for racial justice.
Bakari Sellers made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. His political career did not stop there. In 2014, Sellers won the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor in South Carolina, and has also worked for United States Congressman James Clyburn and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. He is widely considered to be a rising star within the Democratic Party and leading voice for his generation.
Sellers was born into an activist family. He has followed in the footsteps of his father, civil rights leader Dr. Cleveland Sellers, in his tireless commitment to public service while championing progressive policies to address issues ranging from education and poverty to preventing domestic violence and childhood obesity. Sellers earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, where he served as student body president, and his law degree from the University of South Carolina.
Sellers is the author of The New York Times best-selling book My Vanishing Country: A Memoir, which has been described as part memoir, part historical and cultural analysis – illustrating the lives of America’s forgotten black working-class men and women. He has also expanded his audience with the Bakari Sellers Podcast, a twice-a-week show part of The Ringer Podcast Network that addresses a variety of topics from politics, race, sports, media, the presidential campaign, and much more.
Sellers currently practices law with the Strom Law Firm, LLC in Columbia, where he heads the firm’s strategic communication and public affairs team and has recently added diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting to the list of services offered. He is also a prominent political contributor for CNN.
In addition to his impressive list of early accomplishments, Sellers served on President Barack Obama’s South Carolina steering committee during the 2008 election. That coupled with his uncommon ability to reach across the aisle and get things done has led to numerous accolades including being named to TIME Magazine’s “40 Under 40” in 2010 as well as 2014’s “The Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans. Sellers has been a much sought after public speaker and has provided political and social commentary and analysis on many major national news outlets.
He has served as a featured speaker at events for the National Education Association, College Democrats of America National Convention, NAACP, the 2008 Democratic National Convention and, in 2007, delivered the opening keynote address to the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC.
Sellers is married to his wife Dr. Ellen Rucker-Sellers and father to twins Sadie and Stokely.
Follow Bakari on Twitter @Bakari_Sellers
Michael Zeldin is a well-known and highly-regarded TV and radio analyst/commentator.
He has covered many high-profile matters, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Gore v. Bush court challenges, Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump impeachment proceedings.
In 2019, Michael was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a study group on Independent Investigations of Presidents.
Previously, Michael was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as Deputy Independent/ Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files, and as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, investigating the handling of the American hostage situation in Iran.
Michael is a prolific writer and has published Op-ed pieces for CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post.
Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelZeldin