Roger on Roger: 5 Iconic Roles

Roger Guenveur Smith '77 reflects on the characters that have stayed with him the most

1977
FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Frederick Douglass Now

Inspired by Hal Holbrook's Mark Twain Tonight and mentored by professors David Axeen and Mary Jane Hewitt, I commence a monologue, still in progress, in Herrick Chapel.

1989
SMILEY, Do the Right Thing

Improvising the stuttering hero in [writer-director Spike Lee's] Oscar-nominated classic. MMMalcolm. MMMartin.

1992
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, Christopher Columbus 1992

My Columbus is still among us: a lounge entertainer, with ­political aspirations, who runs a travel agency on the side. 

1995
HUEY P. NEWTON, A Huey P. Newton Story

His brother and sister are in the audience. His widow is front-row center. It's trial by fire, Oakland-style.

2013
RODNEY KING, Rodney King

What was intended as a simple memorial prayer continues to resonate—tragically—in our post-racial America.