January 6, 1998

Contact: Jamie Lawson Reeves

(615) 322-2706


Noted civil rights leader

to deliver keynote address for King series


Nashville, Tenn. -- The Rev. James L. Bevel--civil rights leader, preacher and friend of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.--will deliver the keynote address for Vanderbilt University's 14th annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative series. Bevel will speak on "Man, Citizen and the Assumption of Race" Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Benton Chapel.

During the rise of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Bevel served as one of King's most trusted and effective lieutenants. A Baptist mÌÊppÓHat the AmeriÈâ`Baptist Theology Seminary, Bevel cofounded the Nashville Student Movement in 1960 and helped organize the Nashville "sit-ins," a form of nonviolent protest that dramatically raised local and national awareness of the lingering injustices of institutionalized racism and prejudice in America. Beginning in 1961, Bevel also played a leading role in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference headed by King and the SCLC's groundbreaking civil rights work, particularly in Birmingham and Chicago. Bevel is widely credited as the originator of the 1963 March on Washington demonstration. More recently, Bevel helped coordinate the 1996 Million Man March on Washington and the Day of Atonement.

Currently associated with the FORUM organization in Chicago, Bevel is also a regular columnist for Final Call and New Federalist.

Scheduled to coincide with the annual memorial of King's birth (celebrated Jan. 19), the lecture series unites various schools and departments of the University in addressing the legacy of King. Titled "Thinking and Talking Race: A National Dialogue," this year's series of presentations runs from Jan. 14 through Jan. 27. Other guest speakers are listed chronologically below along with the dates, times and locations of their appearances.

Wednesday, Jan. 14, community breakfast featuring the Rev. Robert Franklin at the Divinity School and a worship service that evening at Benton Chapel conducted by Bishop Leontine T. C. Kelly. The following evening at 7 p.m., the Rev. Charles Adams will discuss "What It Means to Be Black and Christian" at Benton Chapel.
Thursday, Jan. 15, Yvonne Maddox, deputy director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health, will discuss "Scientists, Tools and Biomedical Research for the 21st Century," 4 p.m., Room 241 MRL Building, Peabody campus.
Dr. Henry W. Foster Jr., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Nashville's Meharry Medical College and senior adviser to President Clinton on teen pregnancy and youth issues, will discuss "Social Justice: The Medical Perspective," 4 p.m., Room 155 School of Nursing Annex. Reception following in the Godchaux Living Room.
Sunday, Jan. 18, Beauty P. Baldwin, administrator for Hopewell Christian Academy and the first African American female school superintendent in the state of Georgia, will discuss "Historical Reflections," 4 p.m., Peabody Social Religious Building's Rotunda.
Tuesday, Jan. 20, jazz composer William Russo will discuss "Duke Ellington: The True Authorship of His Music," 4:30 p.m., Blair Recital Hall.
Thursday, Jan. 22, Dennis W. Archer, mayor of Detroit and former Michigan Supreme Court justice, will speak in Room 123 School of Law, 3:10 p.m.
John A. Dittmer, professor of history at DePauw University, will discuss "The Civil Rights Movement and the Possibilities of Democracy," location TBA, 4:10 p.m.

Other events in the series include a Jan. 16 commemorative service at All Faith Chapel honoring Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel as well as King, an Owen Graduate School of Business community service day Jan. 17, a candlelight vigil at Benton Chapel Jan. 17, a play and a film both at the Sarratt Cinema Jan. 21, and a photography exhibit, Jan. 1-31, at the Peabody Social Religious Building.

All events are free and open to the public, with the exception of the film, which is $4 for the public, $3 for Vanderbilt students.

For a complete program of events, call 615/322-2591 or visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative series Web site at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/mlk/MLKevents.html.


Vanderbilt University is a private research university of approximately 5,900 undergraduates and 4,300 graduate and professional students. Founded in 1873, the University comprises 10 schools, a public policy institute, a distinguished medical center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education and human development, engineering and music, and a full range of graduate and professional degrees.

For more news about Vanderbilt, visit the News and Public Affairs home page on the Internet at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/News.

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Document updated January 7, 1998.