Dr. Mary Berry to Keynote Southeast’s King Dinner Jan. 18

Dr. Mary Frances Berry, one of the most recognized and respected voices in the nation’s civil rights, gender equality and social justice movements over the past four decades and professor of American social thought at the University of Pennsylvania, will present the keynote address at Southeast Missouri State University’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner Jan. 18 in the Show Me Center.

The theme of this year’s dinner is “Now is the time … What will you do?”

Dinner tickets are $20 each or $160 for a table and are on sale now at www.semo.edu/mlk/dinner/. One hundred free dinner tickets are available to students at the information kiosk on the third floor of the University Center. Additional student tickets are $5 each. Doors will open Jan. 18 at 5 p.m. with the dinner scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For more information, call (573) 651-2626.

An author, educator and historian, Berry served as chairperson of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission where she led the charge for equal rights and liberties for all Americans over the course of four Presidential administrations. A trailblazer for both women and African Americans, she also became the first woman of any race to head a major research university, serving at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

A fighter against inequality, Berry was one of the founders of the monumental Free South Africa Movement. Berry and her organization were instrumental in raising global awareness and abhorrence towards South African injustice, helping to end more than 40 years of apartheid. Berry also served as Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

A prolific author, Berry’s books cover a wide range of subjects, from the history of constitutional racism in America to the politics of parenthood. Her most recent book, “Power in Words: The Stories behind Barack Obama’s Speeches, from the State House to the White House,” offers insight and historical context of President Obama’s most memorable speeches.

Berry is the recipient of the Rosa Parks Award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the President’s Award from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and the Roy Wilkins Civil Rights Award and Image Award from the NAACP.

She continues to speak boldly for those who cannot speak for themselves. Berry displays a vision for social freedom and equality alongside her wisdom and candor. Fiercely determined, Berry educates, transforms and inspires. She challenges everyone to stand up, stand tall and to never give up the fight.

For more information please contact Sia Sharma or Deborah McKee at (573) 651-2626 or mlkcommittee@semo.edu.