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A presentation of “The Parchman Hour” and a keynote talk by Gwendolyn Boyd, longtime activist for women’s equality and recruitment of African Americans into science and engineering, will highlight Martin Luther King Jr. Week at UNC Asheville. The week will also include opportunities for student participation in a day of service during the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, and transportation for students to other area events celebrating King’s life and legacy.
An engineer, Boyd is executive assistant to the chief of staff at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and is chair of that university’s Diversity Leadership Council. She was the first African American woman to earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Yale, and is a past recipient of the Black Engineer of the Year Public Service Award. She is past president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, a service organization of more than 200,000 women.
Accompanying Boyd’s keynote talk will be presentations by the two winners of an oratory contest open to middle school students in Asheville and Buncombe County. The two winners, both from Asheville Middle School, will talk about the meaning of Dr. King’s work in their lives. This event is free and open to the public at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, in UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium.
“The Parchman Hour” brings to life the experiences of the freedom riders through the form of a variety show. Written and produced by Mike Wiley, the show is tribute to the courage, insight and creativity of the young civil rights activists who created radio acts for each other within the walls of Mississippi’s notorious Parchman Farm Penitentiary, after being beaten and arrested for riding buses in defiance of Jim Crow segregation rules. “The Parchman Hour” is free and open to the public, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, in UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium.
Martin Luther King Jr. Week activities at UNC Asheville are co-sponsored by many of the university’s offices, programs and academic departments, including the Intercultural Center, Office of Multicultural Student Programs, Center for Diversity Education, and Cultural Events & Special Academic Programs.
For more information, visit http://msp.unca.edu/mlk2013 or call Lamar Hylton, director of the Intercultural Center, at 828/258-7671.