Beloit College celebrates King’s legacy

Selma, Ala., mayor and Beloit congressman to speak at Martin Luther King Day Convocation

Beloit, Wis.—James Perkins, the first African-American mayor of Selma, Ala., will join Tammy Baldwin, Beloit’s congressional representative, as the guest speakers at the Beloit College celebration of the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at 4 p.m., Monday, Jan. 17. The convocation will take place in Eaton Chapel on the Beloit College campus and will include music by the Beloit Community Ministers’ Fellowship Youth Choir.

The Beloit College celebration will conclude a series of events that will take place in the community surrounding the national Martin Luther King holiday, including a church service on Sunday evening, a prayer breakfast on Monday morning and a leadership forum at City Hall at noon.

Perkins is serving his second term as mayor of Selma, one of the landmark settings of the civil rights movement. He is a Selma native and was in the first class of students to enter the local high school in 1969 under the guidelines of mandatory desegregation. He is a graduate of Alabama A&M University and is the co-founder and organizer of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail Friends Association and is a trustee of Selma University. This year marks the 40th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” an historic moment when civil rights leaders joined Dr. King to march from Selma to Montgomery, only to be beaten back by police as they crossed the bridge out of the city.

Baldwin was elected to Congress in 1998, the first woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin. She was elected to her fourth term this past November, her second term representing Beloit as a result of redistricting.

Beloit College has long-established ties with Selma through the existence of Beloit,Ala., a town nine miles west of Selma. This farming and educational community was created by an 1870 Beloit College graduate, Charles B. Curtis, who named the community after his alma mater. Students from the College have made annual visits to the town during spring break to do volunteer work and to visit with the local community. In 1998, Beloit College presented the Beloit Presidential Medal to the Beloit, Ala., community.

The musical program featuring the youth choir will be under the direction of Carol Hendrix, music minister at Emmanuel Baptist church. There will also be a number of presentations made by students including comments by Michael Ramsdail (’06) and Chelsey Tubbs (’07) of Beloit, and Jennifer Swilley (’06) of Maywood, Ill.

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