“The World Dr. King Inherited & Changed” will address an aspect of Dr. King’s legacy, which is in danger of being forgotten: the social and cultural conditions that led to the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s. Wilkerson, the author of The New York Times’ bestseller, “The Warmth of Other Suns,” will be discussing the dramatic, untold stories of American history from the “great migration” of some six million black citizens who fled the South and Jim Crow laws from 1915 to 1970 in search of a better life. The Seventh Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium will also feature Dallas citizens who can recall and relate personal experiences before, during, and after the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. King.
“For this Symposium we felt it was important to take our audience back to the time before the Civil Rights Movement swept the nation,” said Dr. Larry Allums, executive director of The Dallas Institute. “By doing this, only then can we truly reflect on the incredible impact Dr. King had on our country and how far we have come in the last 50 years. I am thrilled that Isabel Wilkerson will be the first African American woman to speak at our MLK Jr. Symposium. With her historical insight and extensive experience in the world of narrative journalism, this event is one that I urge everyone, whatever their race, to come together for and encounter as one.”
The program will begin at 7 p.m. with a keynote address, followed by an interview and discussion until 8:45 p.m.. The discussion panel will include Dr. Carol Francois and Dr. Robert Green. Dr. Francois is a career educator, having served over the years as teacher, principal, dean of instruction, and chief of staff for Dallas ISD. She is originally from Allentown, Penn., as a result of the Great Migration.
Dr. Green is Professor Emeritus and a former Dean at Michigan State University who worked in the 1960s for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as education director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He is the son of a minister who migrated to Detroit to work in Henry Ford’s automobile factories where he shepherded untold numbers of blacks from the south to Detroit where he ensured they had jobs and housing.
The MLK Symposium is open to the public, but attendance is by reservation only. Admission is $20; admission for teachers and students is $10. Group rate for 10 or more is $15 per ticket. To register, call the Winspear box office at 214-880-0202 or go to attpac.org. For group sales (10 or more) contact Jason Keller at 214-978-2878. For more information, call 214-871-2440 or visit dallasinstitute.org.
Individual sponsors are Mr. and Mrs. John R. Castle, Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. J. McDonald Williams, and Dr. Nancy Cain Marcus.
Community organization co-sponsors: African American Museum; CitySquare; Foundation of Community Empowerment; and Sheila Bailey Ministries.
Members of the MLK Advisory Council for The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture include: Rafael M. Anchia, Representative, Texas House District 103; Albert C. Black, Jr., President and CEO, On-Target Supplies & Logistics; John R. Castle, Jr., attorney and Chair of the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance Board; Catherine Cuellar, Senior Communications Specialist, Oncor Electric Delivery; LaQuita Hall, AT&T Vice President, Southwest Core Network; Veletta Forsythe Lill, Executive Director, Dallas Arts District; Dr. Nancy Cain Marcus, community leader and Adjunct Professor of Humanities, University of Dallas and Southern Methodist University; Jeff Morris, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, ALON USA; and Ellen Williams, community leader.
Isabel Wilkerson is a journalism professor at Boston University, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and author of The New York Times’ bestseller, “The Warmth of Other Suns.” This book reveals the untold stories of the “American Migration.” She interviewed over 1,200 people, gathered their stories, and compiled them to create the book she tells through three unforgettable protagonists as they make the decision of their lives.
In 1994, Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times, making her the first African-American woman to win for individual reporting. She also won the George Polk Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.
She has appeared on “60 Minutes,” “PBS’s Charlie Rose,” “NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” “NBC’s Nightly News,” “MSNBC,” “C-SPAN,” and more. Wilkerson has lectured on narrative writing at Harvard University, has served as Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University and as the James M. Cox Jr. Professor at Emory University.
She is currently Professor of Journalism and Director of Narrative Nonfiction at Boston University.