24th Annual Tennessee Undergraduate Social Science Symposium

26 Oct

Wednesday October 28 and Thursday October 29, the 24th Annual Tennessee Undergraduate Social Science Symposium will be held on the MTSU campus in the James Union Building.


This years theme is “Voting Rights 1965-2015: Commemorating 50 Years”

Paper sessions will be held on both Wednesday and Thursday. For the conference schedule go to http://www.mtsu.edu/soc/socsymp/docs/2015_USSS_Program.pdf

This years Keynote Speaker will be Dr. Bernard Lafayette and he will be speaking on Thursday October 29 from 1:00- 2:20 in the James Union Building


Bernard LaFayette, Jr. has been a Civil Rights Movement activist, minister, educator, lecturer, and is an authority on the strategy on nonviolent social change. He co- founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. He was a leader of the Nashville Movement, 1960, and the Freedom Rides, 1961 and the 1965 Selma Movement.

He directed the Alabama Voter Registration Project in 1962, and he was appointed National Program Administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and National Coordinator of the 1968 Poor Peoples’ Campaign by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. LaFayette has served as Director of Peace and Justice in Latin America; Chairperson of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development; Director of the PUSH Excel Institute; and minister of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Tuskegee, Alabama.

An ordained minister, Dr. LaFayette earned the B.A. from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Ed.M. and Ed.D. from Harvard University. He served on the faculties of Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta and Alabama State University in Montgomery, where he was Dean of the Graduate School. He was principal of Tuskegee Institute High School in Tuskegee, Alabama and a teaching fellow at Harvard University.

His publications include the Curriculum and Training Manual for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Nonviolent Community Leadership Training Program, his doctoral thesis, Pedagogy for Peace and Nonviolence, and Campus Ministries and Social Change in the ’6o’s (Duke Divinity Review) and The Leaders Manual: A Structured Guide and Introduction to Kingian Nonviolence with David Jehnsen. Bernard LaFayette has traveled extensively to many countries as a lecturer and consultant on peace and nonviolence.

Dr. LaFayette is a former President of the American Baptist College of ABT Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee; Scholar in Residence at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia; and Pastor emeritus of the Progressive Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He was founder and director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island from 1998 until 2006.

Since 2006, he has held the position of Distinguished Senior Scholar in Residence at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He is chairman of the Board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) – founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is married to the former Kate Bulls and is the father of two sons.

He is the National Civil Rights Museum’s National Freedom Award recipient for 2012. The following statement was made when the award was presented: “He never stopped believing in the future even when he was arrested with other riders in Jackson, Mississippi and jailed in Parchman State Prison Farm in 1961.”

He is the author of the newly published “In Peace and Freedom: My Journey in Selma”. Congressman John Lewis, in his foreword to the book, states, “A powerful history of struggle, commitment, and hope. No one, but no one, who lived through the creation and development of the movement for voting rights in Selma is better prepared to tell this story than Bernard LaFayette himself.”


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