Dr. W. Marvin Dulaney Presents Martin Luther King Jr. Day Keynote Address at Mount Union College

April 06, 2010

'The Civil Rights Movement was perhaps the most important movement in American history,' Dr. W. Marvin Dulaney, executive director of the Avery Research Center and associate professor of history at the College of Charleston, said at the Martin Luther King Jr. Key Address at Mount Union College on Monday, January 15.

Dr. W. Marvin Dulaney

During Dulaney's address, entitled 'The Civil Rights Movement and Civil Disobedience,' he discussed the six reasons why he felt the Civil Rights Movement was one of the most important movements in American history, with the first one being that the Civil Rights Movement was the longest movement in the nation's past. Dulaney said the movement began long before Rosa Parks, the Brown vs. the Board of Education Supreme Court case or even the initiation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

'The Civil Rights Movement began with the first enslaved African on American shore who struggled for rights and freedom,' Dulaney said.

Dulaney's second and third reasons for the Civil Rights Movement's significance were the movement's diversity' - bringing people from a myriad of backgrounds and cultures together -and its political and social incorrectness when it went against the American norm.

'Segregation and racial discrimination were the norms,' Dulaney said. 'Only in the last 40 years has there been a substantial effort to end racial segregation.'

Dulaney spoke on how the Civil Rights Movement sought to achieve social and political justice in a very un-American way, which was his fourth reason as to why the Civil Rights Movement was one of the most important in American history. Dulaney said Martin Luther King Jr. fought against the violence and bloodshed that had become a central characteristic of American society and that King had advocated and showed the power of non-violent civil disobedience.

'The tactic of civil disobedience achieved far more than could have ever been anticipated,' Dulaney said.

Dulaney's final two reasons for the Civil Rights Movement's importance was its stimulation of other movements such as women's rights, war protests and gay rights and how the Civil Rights Movement has been emulated around the world.

'The Civil Right Movement taught people how to achieve social change, dignity, equality and justice without killing each other,' Dulaney said.

The keynote address ended with the presentation of this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards to those who exemplify the character and life of Dr. King. Marcus Jackson, a junior from Columbus and Victoria Snyder, a junior from Monaca, PA, were awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Awards. Also receiving Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards were community members Rev. Bobby and Joyce Williams and Mount Union faculty and staff members Susan Denning, director of stewardship and grants; LaTashia R. Reedus, director of multicultural student affairs; Fendrich R. Clark, assistant professor of communication and Dr. Peter Schneller, associate professor of education.

A Community Gathering, 'Breaking Bread Together,' was held following Dulaney's presentation in the dining commons solarium of the Hoover-Price Campus Center, and a question and answer session with Dulaney was held later in the afternoon.

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