Hawkins, TX – Three human rights leaders will gather on Jarvis Christian College’s campus for “Mission, Vocation and the Call to Social Justice: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dr. John D. Mangram,” on Wednesday, April 18, 2018.
Dr. Robert Franklin, Candler School of Theology, Emory College; Dr. Charles Steele Jr., Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) President; and Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr., co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) will lead the Social Justice Conference sessions.
Beginning at 11 a.m., Dr. Franklin will lead a session on “Discerning Your Mission in Life” in the Charles A. Meyer Auditorium.
Dr. Franklin is the James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor of Moral Leadership at Emory University (Atlanta) and is Senior Advisor to the President of Emory University. He served as Director of the Religion Department of the Chautauqua Institution from 2014 to 2017. In 2014, he served as Senior Advisor for Community and Diversity, Emory University (Atlanta). In 2013, he was a Visiting Scholar in Residence at Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.
He is president emeritus of Morehouse College where he served as the 10th president of the nation’s largest private, four-year liberal arts college for men from 2007 through 2012. Dr. Franklin was the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at Emory University (2004-2007), where he provided leadership for a university-wide initiative titled “Confronting the Human Condition and the Human Experience” and was a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at the law school. He also has served as program officer in Human Rights and Social Justice at the Ford Foundation and as an advisor to the foundation’s president on future funding for religion and public life initiatives.
Also at 11 a.m. in the Smith-Howard Chapel, Dr. Steele and Dr. Lafayette will speak on “Social Justice and the 21st Century.”
Dr. Steele, a Civil Rights leader, was elected to the Tuscaloosa City Council in 1985, where he served two terms. During his tenure as City Councilman, he organized the Unity Day Scholarship Fund, the Tuscaloosa Police Athletic League and secured funds to build the Bernice Washington Insight Center, a drug treatment center. He also organized the Tuscaloosa Drug Task Force and the Partners for a Drug Free Tuscaloosa County (formerly Tuscaloosa Drug Task Force).
In 1994, Dr. Steele was elected to the Alabama State Senate. The Senator played key roles in recruiting not one, but several new plants in his district. He also sponsored a non-traditional educational program with Robert Townsend of Hollywood, California, for the youth of his district. Additionally, he recruited the Rosa Parks movie to Alabama, where he served as a consultant to the production of the $7 million CBS movie project.
Dr. Lafayette is a co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a leader in the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins, a Freedom Rider, an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the national coordinator of the Poor People’s Campaign.
At the age of 22, Dr. Lafayette assumed the directorship of the Alabama Voter Registration Project in Selma, a city that had previously been removed from the organization’s list due to the dangers of operating there. Dr. LaFayette is Distinguished Senior Scholar-in-Residence at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Chair of the National Board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He is the 2018 Breeden Scholar in Residence at Auburn University’s Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities.
Following the two sessions, a “Social Justice Legends” Town Hall Meeting will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the E.W. Rand Center. The Conference is free and open to the public.