Civil and Human Rights Notables Headline King Celebration

The Rev. C.T. Vivian (left) and Trustee James Stowe P'13 (right) discuss civil rights with students.

A living legend of the civil rights movement was one of two featured speakers at this year’s Winter Convocation honoring the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The Rev. C.T. Vivian, a Baptist minister and civil rights activist who was one of the original Freedom Riders into Jackson, Miss., presented remarks with Susquehanna University Trustee James Stowe P’13, executive director of the Montgomery County, Md., Office of Human Rights.

Stowe and Vivian posed the question “Who’s Got Next?,” a charge to students and others to stand up and be counted among those who believe in freedom and responsibility, the university theme for the 2012–13 academic year.

Stowe has increased involvement in and developed a curriculum for the Human Rights Diversity Camp for 5th-grade students in Montgomery County, Md. The camp gives students opportunities to understand human rights terms, concepts and experiences, and to develop as teams in a multicultural context. In addition, Stowe has coordinated the Civil Rights Educational Freedom Tour, an annual bus tour of sites key to the civil rights movement, retracing the Freedom Trail. He has provided consultation and advice to the Dr. Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolence and Social Change on numerous projects and led efforts to bring attention to the issue of human trafficking.

Vivian was among the vanguard of the civil rights movement, working to eliminate segregated lunch counters in 1947. He later founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, organizing the first sit-ins there in 1960 and the first civil rights march. He worked alongside King and helped achieve passage of civil rights and voting rights legislation. He has provided counsel to four U.S. presidents, and continues to influence human rights and liberties.

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