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ADA – In celebration of Black History Month, the ECU Black Alumni Association is proud to present Shannon LaNier at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, at East Central University.  LaNier is an entrepreneur, author, TV personality, social media influencer – and the sixth great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson.

LaNier will bring his motivational humor to the free event at Ataloa Theatre in Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center. He will share his life, touching on everything from his presidential lineage and genealogy to racial equality and his career in media.

LaNier is a direct descendent of the Declaration of Independence author and slave Sally Hemings. The man who wrote “all men are created equal” owned more than 600 slaves and fathered six children with one of them. While it’s a complicated family history LaNier grew up with (confirmed by DNA in 1998), nothing has stopped his success.

He co-authored the book “Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family” along with photojournalist Jane Feldman. The book reads like a family album and follows LaNier on his journey across the country to meet relatives from both sides of the family: the Jeffersons and Hemings, those that have embraced their heritage and those that want nothing to do with the third president of the United States.

Although LaNier has explored his heritage, he has been in the limelight his entire life. His first television job was as a teenager in Cincinnati, Ohio, on “Real Exchange,” a talk show focusing on issues important to young people. He graduated from Kent State University and jumped headfirst into media in front of the camera at CBS2 Morning Show, then as a writer, director, editor, videographer and reporter at News 12 Networks.

LaNier is also an entrepreneur and owner of “365 Productions,” the senior producer of “Black Enterprise Business Report” and Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Week” correspondent.

He is currently a television news anchor with BNC (Black News Channel). He has hosted and/or appeared on several television shows, including CW39’s morning show in Houston, Texas, and “Arise Entertainment 360” that aired on Centric (BET’s sister station), CNN – Newsroom, MSNBC with Katy Tur, The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, ABC’s here & Now, Black Enterprise Business Report, Our World with Black Enterprise, and Survivor’s Remorse. LaNier has also participated in the White House’s “My Brothers’ Keeper” initiative and the National Entrepreneurship Tour, The Slave Dwelling Project (sleeping overnight at Jefferson’s home, Monticello), and works with He remains an active member of his church, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and the National Association of Black Journalists.

LaNier is a family advocate. He regularly contributes to, and he is an editor at World Bride Magazine, and founder of #DaddyDuty365, a digital initiative celebrating positive and active fathers.

He married his college sweetheart, Chandra, and they live between New York City and Florida with their three children.

LaNier can be followed on all social media platforms @MrShannonLanier.

For more information on this event, please visit or call 580-559-5213.


About The Black Alumni Association: The Black Alumni Association was formed in 2018 to meet the needs of an increasing number of African American students on campus, and to provide an avenue for alums and BAA members to give back to the University and also bring events to ECU campus to promote the accomplishment of Black people, to promote African American Heritage, and assist ECU university in recruiting and attracting more students of color to campus.

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