Invited Speakers

Campus Speakers

  • Rita Bender – “The Legacy of Slavery”
  • C.C. Bryant – Bryant was a Civil Rights leader in southwest Mississippi. He was born in Tylertown and served as the president of the McComb Chapter of the NAACP for over 33 years. In 1961, he organized a voter registration drive in southwest Mississippi in association with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Bryant’s home and place of work were both bombed in the early 60s in retaliation for his committed civil rights work. He was active in the religious community, serving as Deacon Emeritus at Society Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
  • Rev. Will D. Campbell – Rev. Will D. Campbell, a Baptist minister, was a prominent white supporter of civil rights and integration. In 1954, he served as director of religious life on the University of Mississippi campus but resigned in 1956 due to hostility against his pro-integration views. He began working for the National Council of Churches, an ecumenical faith group that opposed segregation. In 1957, he served as an escort for the Little Rock Nine, the first black students to attend Little Rock Central High. He was the only white person present for Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1957 founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 
  • Leroy Clemons – Leroy Clemons, a native of Philadelphia, MS, is co-founder and president of the Philadelphia Coalition.  The organization was founded in 2004 to commemorate the three slain civil rights workers in the 1964 Freedom Summer.  He now works with the William Winter Institute and helped to plan Mississippi’s first mandatory civil rights education curriculum.
  • Myrlie Evers-Williams – Myrlie Evers-Williams worked to end segregation in the South during the 50s and 60s.   Along with her husband Medgar Evers, she organized voter registration drives and fought against segregation. Later in life, she was elected national chairwoman of the NAACP and gave the invocation speech at the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.
  • Rose Flenorl – Rose Flenorl was the first black woman to be awarded the honor of being on the Student Hall of Fame at the University of Mississippi. She currently serves as Manager of Social Responsibility at FedEx, directing corporate funds to maintain diversity and aid with disaster relief and environmental sustainability.
  • Dr. John Hope Franklin – Dr. John Hope Franklin, born in Oklahoma in 1915, was an historian who pioneered the field of African-American Studies.  He was also involved in the legal teams for several significant civil rights cases, including Brown v. Board of Education.  Franklin’s most famous work, From Slavery to Freedom, remains the preeminent source on the history of black people in the United States.
  • Lawrence Guyot – An alumnus of Tougaloo College, Lawrence Guyot was a SNCC field secretary working throughout Mississippi on voter education and registration. Guyot was the founding chairman of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964.  He remained a civil rights activist, working tirelessly to empower young people, until he died on November 23, 2012.
  • Stanley Hauerwas – Stanley Hauerwas is a theologian and public intellectual of the post-liberal movement. He has written a number of books about theology and ethics and was voted “America’s Best Theologian” by Time Magazine.
  • Rev. James Lawson – Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Ohio, Reverend James Lawson was a strong advocate for and teacher of nonviolent resistance during the Civil Rights Movement, training many young activists, including Diane Nash and John Lewis.  He organized sit-ins in Nashville in 1960, encouraged Nashville students to continue the Freedom Ride when it was held up in Birmingham, and led the strike committee for sanitation workers in Memphis in 1968. In 1974, Lawson moved to Los Angeles where he served as a pastor for 25 years and continues to be involved in human rights campaigns.
  • Charles McDew – – Ohio-native Charles McDew began his activism in the 8th grade when he organized a protest against discrimination against Amish students in his hometown. During his time at South Carolina State College, he became involved in the sit-ins at local lunch counters and in the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, of which he served as chairperson from 1961-1964.  Charles McDew continues to teach, speak, and organize on behalf of human rights movements across the country.
  • Frank Mitchener 
  • Mark Shields
  • Alice Walker – Alice Walker, born in Putnam County, Georgia, is a prolific, critically-acclaimed writer and lifelong human rights activist.  When she returned to the South after attending Sarah Lawrence College, she participated in voter registration efforts in Georgia and Mississippi in the mid-1960s.   In recent years, she has actively protested the military actions of the United States and has been involved in relief efforts in the Middle East.
  • Gov. William F. Winter – A native of Grenada, Mississippi, Governor William F. Winter has made his name as a politician and public servant in his homestate.  Before he was elected governor in 1979, he served as State Treasurer then Lieutenant Governor.  Throughout his career, he has used his positions and influence to advocate for public education and racial reconciliation.

Annual Civil Rights Education Summits for Teachers

  • Dr. John Hope Franklin (keynote)
  • Jennifer Abraham
  • Nancy Bercaw
  • Margaret Block
  • Lecia Brooks
  • Meaghin Burke
  • James T. Campbell
  • Leroy Clemons
  • Joseph Crespino
  • Toby Daspit
  • Fenton Deweese
  • William Dickerson–Waheed
  • Britt Dickens
  • Maggie Nolan Donovan – During the Civil Rights Movement, Maggie Nolan Donovan was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and worked primarily to fight racism in the Northeast. Maggie says that teaching the movement is what she consider her life’s work.
  • Charles M. Dunagin – After working at the newspaper for 37 years, Charles M. Dunagin retired as Editor and Publisher of the McComb Enterprise-Journal in December 2000. He is president of the McComb School Board and has served on the Board of Directors of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, as well as a mentor in the McComb Public Schools.
  • Annette Hollowell
  • Peggy Jeanes – Peggy Jeanes was the editor of Mississippi History Now and was awarded the 2004 Chair Award for outstanding achievement in the humanities, by the Mississippi Humanities Council. Also, she was an editor and writer for Entergy Corporation in Jackson and New Orleans. She was employed for 10 years at Harper & Row Publishers.
  • Henry Johnson
  • Annie Johnston – Annie Johnston graduated from Ohio University and Tulane University Law School. In May 2009, Johnston worked as an intern for World Organization for Human Rights USA in Washington, DC. She now works for the Immigration and Refugee Services Department of Catholic Charities.
  • Jennifer Jones–Clark – Jennifer Jones-Clark is the Associate Program Director for the New England Office of Facing History and Ourselves. She designs and facilitates social justice workshops, institutes, and other professional development programs for educators, students, corporations, and community organizations throughout the United States and internationally. She has a Master’s degree in Secondary Education and has used the degree to become a middle and high school teacher and university professor in both the United States and Japan.
  • Sarah Kreckel – Sarah Kreckel is the Curriculum Writer with the Choices Program and a Research Associate at the Watson Institute for International Studies. Before she joined Choices in 2002, she was a project coordinator and teacher for a college awareness program in Boston Public Schools.
  • Adrienne Kupper – Adrienne Kupper is a graduate of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. She is now the Director of Partnerships for iMentor Interactive. She has worked with both students and teachers and has worked for several theatre and media companies, including The New Victory Theater, Blue Heron Arts Center, and No Limits Theatre Group. She is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Information Design and Technology from the State University of New York Institute of Technology.
  • James Loewen
  • Jaesa McLin
  • Deborah Menkart
  • Andy Mink
  • Jeff Mitchell
  • Georgette Norman
  • Deborah Duncan Owens
  • LeeAnn Rasmussen
  • Amanda Ringer
  • Ilanna Sabban
  • Jeff Sapp
  • Karla Smith
  • Lillie Gayle Smith
  • Priscilla Smith
  • Jennifer Stollman
  • Alex Thomas
  • Jenice View
  • Katie Lofton Wallace
  • Hollis Watkins
  • Michael R. Wenger
  • Nan Woodruff
  • Colleen Doyle Worrell – Colleen Doyle Worrell has more than 6 years of teaching experience at the college and graduate levels and 5 years of experience at the high school level. She is committed to education, social justice, and activism.

The Mississippi Politics Symposium

  • Jack Bass – Jack Bass is an author of eight nonfiction books about the American South. He focuses on Southern politics, race relations, and the role of law in shaping the civil rights era. He is the Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Social Sciences at the College of Charleston.
  • Rita Bender
  • Hodding Carter III
  • Charles Cobb
  • Mary Coleman
  • John Dittmer
  • Susan Glisson
  • Rep. Philip Gunn (R-Clinton)
  • Lawrence Guyot
  • Robert Haws
  • Clarke Reed
  • Leslie McLemore – Leslie McLemore attended Rust College, where he first became seriously involved in the civil rights movement. McLemore participated in a boycott of a theatre in Holly Springs because they would not allow blacks to sit in the downstairs section. He later became involved with the NAACP and SNCC. McLemore served as northern regional coordinator for the Freedom Vote campaign in 1963 and founding president of the Rust College chapter of the NAACP.
  • Sen. Gray Tollison – Senator Gray Tollison is a graduate of Oxford High School, Rhodes College and the University of Mississippi School of Law. Tollison is a Republican member of the Mississippi Senate and has been representing District 9 since 1996 January 2012. Tollison was appointed Chairman of the Senate Education Committee in January 2012.

International Conference on Race: Racial Reconciliation

  • Rev. James Lawson (keynote)
  • Nicholas Katzenbach
  • Michael Levine
  • Busani Mpofu
  • Mrunalini Thyagarajan
  • Gerald Yutrzenka – Gerald Yutrzenka is a medical professor and Director of Minority Affairs at the University of South Dakota. He conducts research on health disparities experienced by minorities.

Open Doors Commemoration

  • Myrlie Evers-Williams (keynote)
  • Judge Constance Baker-Motley
  • Judge Neal Biggers
  • William Doyle
  • Henry Gallagher – Henry Gallagher was deployed with a New Jersey military police battalion to the University of Mississippi in preparation for James Meredith’s enrollment. Following the riot on September 30, Gallagher was assigned to organize Meredith’s personal security detail.  Gallagher shares his experiences from that time in his 2012 book, James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot: A Soldier’s Story.
  • Bishop Duncan Gray – Bishop Duncan Gray Jr., from Canton, Mississippi, has been a leader in the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi since his ordination in 1953.  He was a rector at St. Peter’s in Oxford, Mississippi, at the time of the integration riot at the University of Mississippi in 1962, during which he attempted to calm the mob.  Throughout his career, he has been a passionate and vocal advocate for the deconstruction of racism.
  • Sidna Brower Mitchell –  Sidna Brower Mitchell was the editor-in-chief of the Daily Mississippian, the student newspaper at the University of Mississippi, at the time of James Meredith’s enrollment at the university.  She published an article, “Violence will not help,” which earned her great criticism from many of her peers but also great praise from the national journalism community.
  • Charles Moore
  • James Symington
  • Curtis Wilkie