Dr. Tonea Stewart, actress, professor and motivational speaker, visited DSU on Oct. 29 to be a guest speaker in front of the entire first-year student class during a Freshmen Forum event.
Dr. Stewart, in urging the students not to take their educational opportunity for granted, told them the story of her grandfather. She said he was a former slave in his youth, whose eyes were burned out by whites because he wanted to learn to read.
Dr. Tonea Stewart expressed her appreciation of the stage accommodations provided by DSU Theater Manager John Samardza (l) for her guest lecture.
As an actress, Dr. Stewart is best known for her recurring role as Aunt Etta in the television show “In the Heat of the Night.” She has also starred in television show such as “ER,” Touched by an Angel” “Matlock,” as well as in movies such as Mississippi Burning, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and A Time to Kill, the last movie of which she earned a NAACP Image Award nomination.
She has also received a Gold Medal Award for her narration of the Public Radio Internationals Series Remembering Slavery.
In addition to her acting endeavors, Dr. Stewart is currently the director of Theater Arts at Alabama State University.