Dr. Michael Eric Dyson to Speak in Knoxville July 18

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Dr. Michael Eric Dyson to Speak in Knoxville July 18

Posted: 07/13/2015
Michael Eric DysonRenowned author and scholar Dr. Michael Eric Dyson will speak in Knoxville on Saturday, July 18, as a guest of the Knoxville Chamber’s Diversity Champions.

Dyson, who attended Knoxville College and Carson-Newman in Jefferson City before going on to earn his doctorate at Princeton, will speak at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Knoxville Area Urban League, 1514 E. 5th Ave.

Named by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 most influential black Americans, Dyson is the author of sixteen books, including Holler if You Hear Me and I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr. He is currently University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. 

In Knoxville, he will be speaking on “Justice, Inclusion and Moral Reality.” The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Diversity Champions Resource Group, the City of Knoxville, 100 Black Women of Knoxville, and the office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity at the University of Tennessee.

In addition, there are two upcoming events in the City’s ongoing commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act:

Voting Rights Act logoFriday, July 24 – A free screening of Home of the Brave, a 2004 documentary about Viola Liuzzo, a civil rights activist who participated in the 1965 marches in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery and was murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The movie will screen at 6 p.m. at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay St. Popcorn and soft drinks will be provided.

Thursday, Aug. 6 – “Let Us March on Ballot Boxes,” an event at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Ave., to mark the 50th anniversary of the day President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. Refreshments will be served from 5:30 p.m., and the program will begin at 6 p.m. 

The keynote speaker will be Joanne Bland, a lifelong civil rights activist who was just 11 years old when she joined the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on the day that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” 

And on Saturday, August 8, the Beck Cultural Exchange Center will celebrate its 40-Year Anniversary with its inaugural “Eighth of August Jubilee” celebration at Chilhowee Park.

The day will kick off with a Libation Ceremony at the First United Presbyterian Church Historic Cemetery at Knoxville College, the burial site of former slaves owned by Tennessee Military Governor, Andrew Johnson, freed on Aug. 8, 1863, the date that became known as Emancipation Day throughout the region.

The celebration will then continue at Chilhowee Park with family-friendly activities throughout the day.

In Knoxville, oral accounts from local area residents note the Eighth of August as “The one day of the year when black people could go to Chilhowee Park and enjoy a great day of celebration.” Until the late 1940s, it was the only day of the year that the park was open to African-Americans.