As part of Black History Month, Bard College at Simon’s Rock will host its 20th Annual W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Lecture featuring Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr., Distinguished-Senior-Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University. The event will be held on Thursday, February 18, at 7 p.m. in the Daniel Arts Center’s McConnell Theater. This lecture is free and open to the public.
Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr. is a civil rights movement activist, minister, educator, lecturer, and an authority on the strategy of nonviolent social change. He cofounded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. He was also the leader of the Nashville Movement (1960), the Freedom Rides (1961), and the Selma Movement (1965). In 1962, he directed the Alabama Voter Registration Project, and was appointed National Program Administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. appointed him National Coordinator of the Poor Peoples’ Campaign. He 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, he is the founder and national president of God-Parents Clubs, Inc., a national community-based program aimed at preventing the systematic incarceration of young black youth. Dr. Lafayette earned his B.A. from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, and his Ed.M. and Ed.D from Harvard University. Dr. Lafayette is a former president of the American Baptist College of ABT Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee; Scholars-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.
Dr. Lafayette will give a historical retrospective of the U.S. civil rights movement, how it brought about significant national change, where we are in the progression of the social change movement, and what we should focus on in the future. Dr. Lafayette said, "I will highlight those movements that brought about significant national change, look at strategies used and their outcomes, and address errors that were made. We’ll also look forward to global directions we should move in.”
Quintin Cross, Diversity Coordinator at Simon’s Rock and founding member of the Next Generation Leadership Council of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was responsible for bringing Dr. Lafayette to campus.
Senior Andre Santana ‘13, a Diversity Intern said, “The Du Bois speaker series offers opportunities to bring prominent ideas and histories to our campus. Introducing students to Dr. Lafayette—one of the most prolific civil rights activists of our time—will be inspiring. I’m excited that he’ll be joining us on campus, and that I’ll be a witness to the impact our discussions have on Simon’s Rock students.”
This annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture Series is sponsored by a generous gift from the Spring Foundation.