Twenty years after Avery Brooks earned his Masters of Fine Arts degree from Rutgers University, he was inducted into the Rutgers University Hall of Distinguished Alumni. By that time, not only was he a tenured professor at the school, but he also had garnered worldwide respect as an actor, director and musician. Prior to joining the cast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Brooks had received critical acclaim for his ongoing stage appearances in the one-man musical, “Paul Robeson.” His first starring role on television—the intriguing character Hawk on the series Spenser: For Hire—led Brooks to his own series, A Man Called Hawk. Smoothly alternating between stage, screen and television, Brooks held the title role in numerous plays, including Shakespeare’s “Othello” and the opera “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X.” He was nominated for a Cable ACE award for playing Uncle Tom in Showtime’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, played the title role in the PBS American Playhouse film Solomon Northup’s Odyssey, and narrated numerous documentaries, including Walking With Dinosaurs and the IMAX film Africa’s Elephant Kingdom. On the big screen, Brooks co-starred with Ed Norton in American History X, and with Mark Walberg in The Big Hit. For over a decade, Brooks has served as Artistic Director of the National Black Arts Festival, held annually in Atlanta, GA.