For Immediate Release — Friday, Jan. 13, 2006


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo to celebrate life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Civil rights pioneer Dorothy Cotton will speak Jan. 19

GENESEO, N.Y. — The State University of New York at Geneseo will honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr. with a variety of events in January. All events are free and open to the public.

The highlight of this year's celebration will be a keynote speech by Dorothy Cotton at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom. Cotton was the education director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) from 1960-1968, working closely with King and other civil rights leaders. Cotton served on his executive staff and was part of his entourage to Norway, where he received the Nobel Prize for Peace.

In her role with the SCLC, Cotton directed the Citizenship Education Program, which was designed to train and empower disenfranchised citizens while developing local leadership in the deep South and promoting nonviolent social change. Later, Cotton served as the vice president for field operations for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Ga., where she was a leader and senior trainer for the center in areas of nonviolence and empowerment for leadership.

Under the President Carter Administration, Cotton served as the southeastern regional director of ACTION, the federal government's agency for volunteer programs from 1978 to 1981. From 1982 to 1991, Cotton was the director of student activities at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Cotton now works as a consultant, providing inspiration and guidance on a range of topics, including multiculturalism and diversity, human relations, race relations, nonviolent change, women's issues, and the paths to personal and spiritual growth.

Cotton often uses the "Songs of the Movement" to help her tell the story of America's struggle for civil rights. She has traveled extensively throughout the world, including visits to the former Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, Switzerland, Africa, Vietnam and Europe, to participate in international workshops and discussions on a broad range of current social and humanitarian issues.

Other Martin Luther King Jr. celebration events at SUNY Geneseo will include:

Thursday, Jan. 26

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award Competition Reception

4 p.m.

MacVittie College Union Ballroom

Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Center for Community, Residence Life, the Office of the Provost, and the Division of Student and Campus Life.

Thursday, Jan. 26

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award Competition Reception

5:30 p.m.

MacVittie College Union Ballroom

A 50-minute episode from the "Eyes on the Prize" documentary titled "The Promised Land" will be shown. Emilye Crosby, associate professor of history at SUNY Geneseo, will lead a discussion after the screening.

Tuesday, Jan. 31

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dramatic Readings

4 p.m.

Sturges Auditorium

Emilye Crosby, associate professor of history at SUNY Geneseo, will introduce the readings. Students will perform excerpts of speeches and writings by King and other activists from the modern civil rights movement, including Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), Roy Wilkins, John Lewis, Diane Nash, Chuck McDew, Judy Richardson and James Lawson.