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Stanford Report, January 5, 2000

Bernice King to headline two-week-long MLK celebration


Civil rights leader the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and the Rev. Bernice A. King, youngest child of Martin Luther King Jr., will headline a two-week campus celebration of King's life that begins Jan. 9.

Shuttlesworth will lead an interfaith celebration at 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 9, in Memorial Church, and King will give a keynote talk at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20, in Kresge Auditorium.

As organizer and president emeritus of the 1956 Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, Shuttlesworth led the group of ministers in Birmingham who came together to protest segregated conditions when the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was outlawed by Alabama politicians. Shuttlesworth also was one of five organizers, with King, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and he served for years on the national advisory board of the Congress of Racial Equality.

Martin Luther King Jr. speaking in Memorial Auditorium in April, 1967.

After ministering to congregations in Selma and Birmingham, Alabama, Shuttlesworth in 1966 founded the Greater New Light Baptist Church in Cincinnati, where he continues to preach today. He was described in the documentary film Who Speaks for Birmingham as "the man most feared by the Southern racist."

Bernice King first came to public notice at age 5, when she was pictured in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph that showed her sleeping in her mother's lap during funeral services for her slain father.

In 1980, at age 17, King spoke to the United Nations about apartheid. In 1988 she preached her first trial sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her father had been pastor.

King earned an undergraduate degree in psychology at Spelman College and holds both a master of divinity and doctorate of law from Emory University. She currently is assistant to the pastor at Greater Rising Star Baptist Church in Atlanta.

King has published Hard Questions, Heart Answers, a book of sermons and speeches, and is an advocate for the rehabilitation of at-risk youth.

Additional events in the two-week campus celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life include the following:

Rustin, who organized the historic March on Washington in 1963, was forced to work out of the spotlight because of his homosexuality.

Part I of the symposium will feature screen footage of Rustin's debates with Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael that will be incorporated in a documentary film by Nancy Kates. In Part II of the symposium, Brian Freeman, founder of Pomo Afro Homos, an African American drama troupe, will perform scenes from Civil Sex, his play about Rustin's life. Jewelle Gomez, author of Gilda Stories, will discuss the effects of Rustin's activism on her writings as a lesbian in Part III of the symposium.

For more information about the King celebration, call the Black Community Services Center at 725-0030. SR