Created: Mon, 26 Aug 2013 03:27:00 EST
Updated: Mon, 26 Aug 2013 03:40:08 EST
Andrew Young will present the opening keynote speech for Mercer University's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its integration.
Young, former Atlanta mayor and ambassador to the U.N., will speak on Sept. 20 at 3 p.m. in Willingham Auditorium on the Mercer campus.
Mercer plans a year-long commemoration featuring events, forums, readings, and symposia.
Under the theme “Looking Back & Moving Forward: Celebrating a Half Century of Integration at Mercer University,” the institution will kick off the commemoration on Sept. 20 with an opening convocation featuring a speech by Andrew Young, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Atlanta mayor.
Seating in Willingham Auditorium is limited, so complimentary tickets will be required for admission to the Sept. 20 convocation. If tickets remain after the distribution to students, faculty and staff, they will be made available to the general public
A primary goal of the commemoration is to look at how Mercer’s integration fit into a larger, national context. This year not only marks the anniversary of the University’s integration, but also the anniversary of Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (April 16) and his “I Have a Dream” speech (Aug. 28), as well as the death of civil rights activist Medgar Evers (June 12) and the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. (Sept. 15).
Mercer campuses will participate in an Aug. 28 commemoration of the “I Have a Dream” speech. The University, along with other organizations across the United States, will hold a moment of silence at 3 p.m. Bells will ring on the grounds of all campuses and regional academic centers.
Dr. Marilyn Mindingall, senior vice provost for administration and special programs, co-chairs the planning committee for the commemoration and said she hopes the events will inspire Mercer’s student body, faculty and staff to reflect and remember.
“We are looking for an opportunity to reflect on our past, but I think we also have to keep in mind the importance of Mercer during the present,” she said. “It would be a disservice to sit back and think we can pat ourselves on the back and not look at Mercer square in the eye in terms of race and differences among people – not just at Mercer but nationwide.”
On Sept. 6, the University will launch a special website – 50th.mercer.edu – for the 50th anniversary commemoration that will include a detailed timeline of key events in Mercer’s integration, educational resources, videos, photos and a comprehensive listing of events.