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Acclaimed civil rights activist to speak at 41st MLK Scholarship Luncheon

Headshot of Dr. Mary Frances Berry on a black backgroundDr. Mary Frances Berry, esteemed scholar, author and civil rights activist, will deliver the keynote address at the University of North Florida’s 41st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Celebration happening virtually at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 9.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Celebration is an annual Intercultural Center (IC) and Office of Diversity and Inclusion event that takes place each February to honor the ideals and teachings of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. by recognizing students who carry his legacy forward through both their scholastic achievements and commitment to servant leadership. Generous donations from the UNF community and abroad have helped support the IC in awarding UNF students more than $125,000 in scholarships to date.

Since her college years at Howard University, Berry has been one of the most visible activists for civil rights, gender equality and social justice in the United States. Serving as Chairperson of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Berry demanded equal rights and liberties for all Americans during four Presidential administrations. Berry also became the first woman to head a major research university, serving at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Berry also served as the principal education official in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare working to improve access and quality education in our schools.

In 2013, Berry was one of the recipients of the Nelson Mandela award from the South African Government for her role in organizing the Free South Africa Movement (FSAM) which helped to end apartheid. She was selected to speak by the South African Government representing FSAM at the national celebration of the life legacy and values of Nelson Mandela, Washington National Cathedral in December 2013.

Berry is also the author of twelve critically acclaimed books. In her latest book, “History Teaches Us to Resist: How Progressive Movements Have Succeeded in Challenging Times,” Berry recounts many of the protests she has attended, analyzes their organizing strategies and considers the lessons we can learn from them.

For more information on the free Zoom celebration as well as scholarship details, visit the website and register online. For additional event questions, contact UNF’s Intercultural Center via email or by calling (904) 620-2528.