On Friday, Jackson State University will hold the 47th Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Birthday Convocation and award luncheon For My People.
According to Dr. Robert Luckett, director of JSU’s Margaret Walker Center for the Study of the African-American Experience, the birthday celebration will kick off the Margaret Walker Centennial year with a keynote address by renowned scholar and author Paula Giddings.
Beginning at 10 a.m. in JSU’s Rose E. McCoy Auditorium, the event is free and open to the public, and it will be immediately followed by the For My People Awards luncheon in the JSU Student Center Ballroom.
This year’s For My People Award recipients include Giddings; Dr. John A. Peoples, Jr., President Emeritus, Jackson State University; the Smith Robertson Museum & Cultural Center in Jackson; and Pamela D.C. Junior, manager at Smith Robertson.
Seating at the luncheon is limited, and tickets are $10 and can be reserved through the Margaret Walker Center at 601-979-2055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This annual award is named after Walker’s classic poem, For My People, and past recipients have included James Meredith, Unita Blackwell, Robert Clark, Lerone Bennett, Andrew Young, Jesse Mosley, Reena Evers-Everette, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and others.
Giddings, a professor of African-American studies at Smith College, attended one of earliest Black Studies conferences in the nation — the Phillis Wheatley Poetry Festival hosted at Jackson State by Margaret Walker in 1973.
Giddings is the author of three books on the social and political history of African-American women: When and Where I Enter: The Impact on Black Women on Race and Sex in America; In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement; and, most recently, a biography of anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells, Ida: A Sword among Lions.