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Bobby Allen Roach
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Public Relations

Emma Edmunds speaking at DCC's Oliver Hall

Emma Edmunds, a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities fellow and native of Halifax County, shares her research findings on Danville’s role in the 1960s civil rights movement during a guest lecture at Danville Community College on Tuesday, January 17, in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

 

Guest Lecturer Talks Danville's Connection to the 1960s Civil Rights Movement

 

(January 18, 2017)  – Danville Community College and DCC’s African American Culture Club hosted guest speaker Emma Edmunds on Tuesday, January 17, for the college’s observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

 

Edmunds, a King Scholar and curator of the traveling exhibit “1963 Danville Civil Rights Movement: the Protests, the People, the Stories,” shared some of the revealing historic accounts of that movement in a multimedia presentation in DCC’s Oliver Hall. She has been formally researching the history of civil rights in Danville since 1998, when she received a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Residential Fellowship. As a Halifax County native, Edmunds said she was shocked to learn of the protests, arrests, and other historically significant events that took place in Danville from 1945 to 1975 and that she wanted to know more about the history that shaped her community.

 

Kyesha Jennings, DCC English professor and advisor of the African American Culture Club, said that it is important to educate students and the local public about Danville’s role in the 1960s civil rights movement.

 

“Danville has a rich civil rights history that is not talked about or celebrated enough. We need to acknowledge the progress the City of Danville has made over the years as a result of the commitment of local civil rights leaders both black and white,” Jennings said. “Telling the stories is also a way of saying ‘thank you for what you have done’ to those who were committed to creating change, even if they are no longer physically with us today.”

 

Edmunds’ presentation included a recorded audio performance of “Legend of Danville,” a song written by Matthew Jones, which details the events that took place in the summer of 1963. The lecture ended with a recitation of the Birmingham Pledge, a “grassroots effort to recognize the worth of every individual by making a personal, daily commitment to remove prejudice from our own lives and to treat all people with dignity and respect,” as stated on thebirminghampledge.org.

 

On Wednesday, January 18, students, faculty, and staff visited Edmunds’ exhibit currently on display at the Danvillian Gallery on North Union Street.

 

DCC also participated in MLK Day of Service held at Averett University’s North Campus on Monday, January 16. The event featured art, story, and photography contests.

 

Jennings said she was pleased with the attendance for the talk on Tuesday.

 

“Understanding the unique challenges our students face made the turnout even more rewarding. They often have to balance school, work, and their family lives,” Jennings explained.

 

For more information about DCC’s African American Culture Club and to find out about upcoming Black History Month events at the college, contact Kyesha Jennings at 434-797-8549 or kjennings@dcc.vccs.edu.

 

 

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