Thursday, June 30, 2022

Civil rights advocate to speak to U about activists of the 1960s

April 16, 2001

The Rev. Edwin King, a peace and civil rights activist will address an audience at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Auditorium.

In his second trip to MSU since 1999, King’s address will be on “A Rumor of Freedom, A Rumor of War: The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam.”

King, who teaches at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, also served as a chaplain and dean of students at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss. in the 1960s and worked with Anne Moody, author of “Coming of Age in Mississippi.” King was featured in Moody’s book which is required reading for most IAH 201 courses.

“We had really good response from students who talked about how they appreciated the opportunity, to learn from somebody they were reading about and he had taken an active part and suffered for his participation,” said Kathleen Geissler, acting director of the Center for Integrative Studies.

“It had a considerable impact.”

The visit is being sponsored by the Center for Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities and James Madison College.

In his last visit on November 31, 1999, King spoke on being part of a prison chain gain and working in the American Civil Rights movement.

Center officials made arrangements for King to return to campus after his last visit and have been planning all semester, Geissler said.

This year, his address will focus on students of the 1960s as freedom fighters, soldiers, resisters, scholars and citizens. He is expected to speak for about an hour, followed by a question and answer period.

He will also talk about the links between students in Mississippi fighting for civil rights and students fighting against the Vietnam War.

Geissler said when King spoke last time, in Fairchild Theatre, the audience surpassed the capacity.

Students taking IAH classes are encouraged to attend along with faculty, staff and local residents.

“I expect this year we’ll have space for them all,” Geissler said.

Also speaking on Wednesday are civil rights activist and wife of slain peace organizer Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, and acclaimed poet and actress, Maya Angelou. Coretta Scott King will speak at 3 p.m. at the Auditorium and Angelou will speak at 7:30 p.m. at Breslin Student Events Center.

But Geissler said that shouldn’t take away from King’s address.

“There some wonderful opportunities for students that day,” she said. “It’s a little too bad they’re all three on one day.”

King will also be available from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Thursday in the Iowa Room in the MSU Union to speak with people informally.

Ronald Davis, a spokesman for the College of Arts and Letters said King’s visit is a learning opportunity.

And Davis said having both King and Coretta Scott King speak Wednesday only offers more opportunities for students.

“I think it’s an excellent balance particularly because you’re dealing with the civil rights movement and you have two people who are involved in it that are of different racial backgrounds.” he said.

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