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Founder of the U.S. Public Service Academy speaks @ Berea

Dr. Chris Myers Asch, founder of the U.S. Public Service Academy and author of a new book about civil rights struggles in Mississippi, was the speaker for the recent “Tukule, Tusome: To Eat, To Learn Lecture Series” event at Berea College Monday, Oct. 19, which was scheduled from 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. the Commons of the Woods-Penniman Building.

Dr. Chris Myers Asch

The event was sponsored by Berea College’s Black Cultural Center. A light lunch was provided at no charge.

Asch’s talk on “The Senator and the Sharecropper: The Freedom Struggles of James O. Eastland and Fannie Lou Hamer” drew from his recently published book of the same name.

On Monday afternoon, from 4:30 – 5:15 p.m., Asch was the guest at a reception and signed copies of his book in Berea’s Black Cultural Center, in room 206 of the Alumni Building.

Chris Myers Asch taught elementary and middle school for three years in Sunflower, Miss. with Teach For American/Americorps. In 1998, he co-founded the Sunflower County Freedom Project, an intensive academic enrichment and leadership development program for middle and high school students. Asch ran the Freedom Project for seven years before leaving in the summer of 2006 to launch the U.S. Public Service Academy, an undergraduate institution modeled on the military academies, but with a mission to develop civilian leaders for public service.

Asch, who holds a PhD in American History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, currently serves as the Coordinator of the Center for Urban Education and the Co-Director of the Honors Program at the University of the District of Columbia, and continues to lead establishment of the Academy.

The Senator and the Sharecropper: The Freedom Struggles of James O. Eastland and Fannie Lou Hamer is Asch’s first book, published in 2008. Set against the backdrop of Sunflower County, Miss., the book tells how two pivotal figures – U.S. Senator from Mississippi Eastland and sharecropper Fannie Hamer - came to confront one another on the national political stage at the height of the civil rights struggle in the 1960s. The book has earned the Liberty Legacy Foundation Prize from the Organization of American Historians and the McLemore Prize from the Mississippi Historical Society.

For more information, contact the Black Cultural Center at (859)985-3797.

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