Since the inception of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Convocation in 1990, the celebration has grown each year to incorporate a series of events coordinated by the Martin Luther King Commemorative Planning Committee. Led by Lillian Franklin, associate professor of languages, the committee includes Wittenberg faculty, staff and students.
This year's festivities start with a panel discussion titled "Privilege II: Education as Transformative" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, in Bayley Auditorium in the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center. Moderated by Associate Professor of English Carmiele Wilkerson, the panel will include Philana Crite from Clark State Community College, Director of Multicultural Student Programs Forest Wortham, Assistant Dean for Judicial Affairs John Young, and Assistant Provost for the First Year Experience Miguel Martinez-Saenz.
The event will build off last year's panel discussion titled "Poverty vs. Privilege in the Black Community," which featured Wittenberg faculty and staff members interacting about the Dyson publication, Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has The Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? Panelists discussed the ongoing debate between Dyson and Bill Cosby on the state of impoverished African Americans.
The busy calendar of events continues with a reading group discussion of Guinier's memoir Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 in Ness Family Auditorium in Hollenbeck Hall. At 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, the film Higher Learning will be shown in the same location and a discussion of the film will follow.
The third annual Freedom March will take place at 8 a.m., Monday, Jan. 21, beginning in the Springfield Museum of Art parking lot and ending at Wittenberg's Benham-Pence Student Center. Several speakers will address the crowd in the student center, and coffee and pastries will be served in the Gus Geil Lounge.
Finally, the movie Eyes on the Prize will run continuously throughout the day on Monday in Post 95, the casual dining area in the student center. In addition, the student-run radio station WUSO 89.1-FM will broadcast "Will the Circle be Unbroken?", an audio history series of the Civil Rights movement in five southern communities.
Before joining the faculty at Harvard in 1998, Guinier was a tenured professor for 10 years at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She was head of the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and she served in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice during the Carter administration as special assistant to the assistant attorney general. Guinier was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993 to head the Civil Rights Division, but her name was withdrawn without a confirmation hearing, an experience Guinier documented in her memoir.
A graduate of Radcliffe College of Harvard University and Yale Law School, Guinier has received numerous awards, including the 1995 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession and the 2002 Sacks-Freund Teaching Award from Harvard Law School. She is the recipient of 11 honorary degrees from such schools as Smith College and Swarthmore College.
Guinier is the latest in a long line of distinguished speakers to make presentations at the event, including National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Chairman of the Board Julian Bond in 2003 and author Michael Eric Dyson in 2007.
The Witt Series, formerly known as the Wittenberg Series, brings distinguished lecturers and performing artists of national and international prominence to the campus and local community. For more information about the Series, visit the university's Web site. To make special arrangements reserve a Series poster or become a friend of the Witt Series, contact Jeannine Fox at (937) 327-7470 or via e-mail.
For a complete list of events, visit a Wittenberg Web site established specifically for this annual event.
Written By: Ryan Maurer
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