Tavis Smiley, Cornel West's poverty tour comes to North Philly

Posted: September 14, 2012

PBS talk-show host Tavis Smiley and philosophy professor Cornel West are bringing their "Poverty Tour" to a North Philadelphia Baptist church Friday .

"The Poverty Tour 2.0: A Call to Conscience" is to focus attention on the poor during the presidential campaign.

"We simply want to accent the humanity and decency of poor people of all colors," West wrote on Twitter Thursday. West teaches at Union Theological Seminary in New York and hosts a nationally-syndicated radio talk show with Smiley.

They are to appear at the Tenth Memorial Baptist Church, on 19th Street near Master, starting at 10 a.m. Friday, said Rev. William Moore, the church pastor.

Smiley and West have been very critical of President Obama, accusing him of making big corporations a priority rather than the poor and working class. However, the two have also been condemned by many African-Americans who support Obama and believe the president would lose white support if he focused mainly on black problems.

Smiley visited Tenth Memorial about six months ago, toured the neighborhood and saw the housing the church's community development organization has built for low- and moderate-income families and senior citizens, Moore said.

"I think he was pleased that a church in the inner-city was doing this type of work," Moore said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Valerie Russ at russv@phillynews.com or 215-854-5987. Follow her on Twitter @ValerieRussDN.

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