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Berea College celebrates MLK

Beginning on Monday, January 17, 2011, several campus events will commemorate the life and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and explore "Women of the Civil Rights Movement."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 17:
At noon, the college will host an oratorical contest and candle lighting ceremony in the cafeteria in the alumni building. Guests, faculty and staff may sign in for a free meal.

At 3 p.m., Dr. Dorothy Cotton, a leader of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, will present "Sisters in the Struggle" during the 3 p.m. convocation in Phelps Stokes Chapel. Dr. Cotton served as educational director for Southern Christian Leadership Conference and helped organize students during the 1963 Birmingham Movement. In 1964 she accompanied Dr. King, founder and first president of SCLC, to Oslo, Norway where he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

At 7:30 p.m. in the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center Gallery, community members will gather to discuss "What If? – How People of Many Faiths Shaped the Civil Rights Movement." Participants will learn and discuss the role that people of faith played in shaping the Civil Rights Movement and how they are still making a difference.

Tuesday, January 18:
At noon, Dr. Kathy Bullock, a member of Berea' s music faculty and director of Black Music Ensemble, will lead a chapel service titled "Music of the Civil Rights Movement in Danforth Chapel. Black Music Ensemble will perform and a light lunch will be offered after the service.

These events are co-sponsored by African and African-American Studies, Convocation Committee, Willis T. Weatherford Campus Christian Center, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service, and the campus life and food services departments.

From 1960 to 1968, Dr. Dorothy Cotton was the Education Director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In that capacity, she worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders, directing the Citizenship Education Program (CEP). The now famous CEP was designed to train and empower disenfranchised citizens while developing local leadership in the deep south and promoting nonviolent social change. Later, Dr. Cotton served as vice president for field operations for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia, where she was a leader and senior trainer for the center.

Under the Carter administration, Dr. Cotton served as the southeastern regional director of ACTION, the federal government's agency for volunteer programs from 1978 to 1981. From 1982 to May 1991, Dr. Cotton was director of student activities at Cornell University.

Dr. Cotton continues to work consultant to many organizations, schools and businesses, providing inspiration and guidance on a range of topics, including multiculturalism and diversity, human relations, race relations, nonviolent change, women's issues and the paths to personal and spiritual growth. “Nonviolence as a System for Social Change” and “Challenging Emerging Leaders” are special topic areas for Dr. Cotton. While at Cornell, Dr. Cotton co-wrote a white paper entitled "The New Citizenship" which presented the thesis that “government” cannot be reinvented without first refocusing and reinventing the concept of “citizenship”. This special paper received broad acclaim and resulted in two White House meetings to explore strategies for government/citizen partnership in the ongoing quest to reinvent government.

A powerful motivating speaker, teacher and workshop facilitator, Dr. Cotton often uses the "Songs of the Movement" to help her tell the story of America’s struggle for civil rights. She accompanied Dr. King when he received the Nobel Prize for Peace in Norway. Since that time she has traveled extensively throughout the world, including visits to the former Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, Switzerland, Africa, Vietnam and Europe while participating in international workshops and discussions on a broad range of current social and humanitarian issues.

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