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Civil, Human Rights Notables Headline Martin Luther King Celebration

Published on January 7, 2013

Susquehanna University will celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with a series of free public events on campus Jan. 20 and 21.James Stowe

The centerpiece of the celebration will be a program of music and remarks by special guests James Stowe, executive director of the Montgomery County, Md., Office of Human Rights, and the Rev. C.T. Vivian, a Baptist minister and civil rights activist who was one of the original Freedom Riders into Jackson, Miss. The event will take place Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Degenstein Center Theater.

Stowe and Vivian will pose 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 this academic year.

Stowe has increased involvement and developed a curriculum for the Human Rights Diversity Camp for 5th-grade students in Montgomery County. 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 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. Vivian appeared in the PBS documentary “Eyes on the Prize,” among other PBS presentations, and in the History Channel documentary “King.” His steadfast commitment to equality is a testament to the power of nonviolent activism in racial justice and democracy.

Music during the program will be performed by the Susquehanna University Chorale and special guests Kenny Washington and the SFNY Jazz Quartet. A blend of talented musicians from San Francisco and New York City, the group has performed and held master classes around the world, including in New York’s Smalls, The Zinc Bar and other jazz clubs. Individual band members have played with such notables as Lionel Hampton, Diana Krall, Rufus Reid, Lou Rawls, The Temptations, Gladys Knight, Stacey Kent and Elvis Costello, to name just a few.

The celebration will begin with a chapel service honoring King’s legacy on Jan. 20 at 11 a.m. in the university’s Weber Chapel, followed by a community soup lunch at noon in the Degenstein Campus Center’s Shearer Dining Rooms. For more information, visit www.susqu.edu/arts/24338.asp .


Karen M. Jones

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