Presentation to honor Martin Luther King Jr.


        Binghamton University will honor the late Martin Luther King Jr. with a lecture by former Civil Rights Commissioner Mary Frances Berry. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday, January 29, in the Mandela Room of the University Union.

        Berry, who will deliver a lecture titled "Social Justice Today: Making King’s Dream a Reality," will discuss King’s legacy, as well as her own contributions in the advancement of human rights.

        Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania where she teaches history of American law and advises graduate students in legal history and African American history.

        In 1980 she was appointed by President Carter and confirmed by the Senate as a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. After President Reagan fired her for criticizing his civil rights policies, she sued him and won reinstatement in federal district court. In 1993, President Clinton designated her Chairperson of the Civil Rights Commission. She was reappointed to a six-year term in 1999 and resigned from the Commission in 2004.

       During Berry's tenure as chairperson, the Commission issued a number of significant reports, including 2000 Florida Presidential Elections, police practices in New York City, environmental justice, percentage plans and affirmative action, church burnings, and conditions on Indian reservations.

       Berry has received 32 honorary doctoral degrees, including one from Binghamton University in 1999.  She has also been honored with numerous awards, including the NAACP's Roy Wilkins Award, the Rosa Parks Award of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Ebony Magazine Black Achievement Award.  Sienna College Research Institute and the Women's Hall of Fame designated her one of "America's Women of the Century."

       For more information contact the Multicultural Resource Center at 607-777-4472.

Last Updated: 9/17/13