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Beloved Community Symposium reaches 12th year

Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian, noted civil rights leader, will give the first Keynote Address entitled  "Martin Luther King, Jr., 21st-Century Man."
Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian, noted civil rights leader, will give the first Keynote Address entitled "Martin Luther King, Jr., 21st-Century Man."

“Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand, True to our God, true to our native land.”

These words may be unfamiliar to you.

They're the words to a song called “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a piece written in the early 20th century that the NAACP established as the Negro National Anthem.

It's been performed in middle school choirs, at national civic events and was incorporated into the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama.

On Feb. 26, it will be performed on Mercer's campus as a part of the 12th annual Building the Beloved Community Symposium.

Bekah Fulton is an SGA senator that attended the event last year and is helping to plan this year’s event.

“[The symposium is] an event driven by our community's desire to reconcile race relations in the church and build bridges,” Fulton said. “There are pastors from all over Macon who have strived for developing not only inter-generational congregations, but also interracial. So they typically talk about how they've done that and why it's important.”

The conversations and discussions will be led by Cordy Tindell “C. T.” Vivian, an activist who partnered with Martin Luther King Jr. in Birmingham, Alabama during the civil rights movement.

Vivian is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. He was a part of sit-ins and freedom rides all across the United States. And in 2013, Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vivian for his service.

Currently, Vivian is the dean of the Urban Institute at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. He has trained ministers and developed urban curriculum for seminaries all over the country.

“Dr. Vivian is a true civil rights icon,” said John Dunaway, a professor who is coordinating the event. “He was one of Dr. King’s closest associates and played a key role in the success of the Freedom Riders in 1961.”

Mark these dates on your calendar, so you won’t miss any of the Beloved Community Symposium events.

Tuesday, Feb. 16:
“Eyes on the Prize” documentary, which features Vivian and the struggle for civil rights, will be showing from 6 to 7:15 p.m. in Stetson 251

Thursday, Feb. 25:
At 6:30 p.m. there will be a banquet in the President’s Dining Room (University Center). Noted civil rights leader Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian will give his first keynote address titled "Martin Luther King, Jr., 21st-Century Man.”

Friday, Feb. 26:

Breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall of Centenary United Methodist Church, with speaker Macon-Bibb County Sheriff David Davis.

Vivian will present his second keynote address at 10 a.m. entitled  "Continuing the Beloved Community” in Newton Hall. The Central High School Chorus, with director Isaac Gibson, will lead the Negro National Anthem.

Breakout sessions in Newton Hall, with McAfee School of Theology professor Chanequa Walker-Barnes as moderator and McAfee students as table facilitators will occur at 11 a.m.

There will be a wrap-up in Newton Hall at noon, with speaker Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life the Rev. Dr. David Gushee, followed by a light lunch.

Admission to all sessions is free. Reservations are required for meals.
Call or e-mail Trish Dunaway at (478) 475-9506 or by Feb. 22.

Saturday, Feb. 27:

At 7:30 p.m., the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings is presenting “What Color is Your Brother?,” a free performance featuring world-renowned violinist Robert McDuffie at The Grand Opera House. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (478) 301-5471. Walk-ups are available at The Grand box office, 651 Mulberry St., beginning Jan. 19.

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