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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Director of URI's Center for Nonviolence and Peace Center to speak at Honors Colloquium

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 18, 2000 -- Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr., a civil rights activist, minister, educator, lecturer, and authority on the strategy of nonviolent social change, will speak on "A Lifetime of Nonviolence Activism and Education" as part of the University of Rhode Island's fall honors colloquium series, "Nonviolence: Legacies of the Past, Bridges to the Future."

LaFayette will speak in the Barry Marks Auditorium, Room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center on URI's Kingston Campus, Sept. 26 from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

LaFayette had a key role in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1960, he was one of the eight students who led the Nashville Movement to desegregate that city and who were the subjects of David Halberstam's recent book, The Children. He has also been featured in Taylor Branch's authoritative book, Pillar of Fire, and in John Lewis's memoir, Walking With the Wind.

He co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960 and was a leader of the 1961 Freedom Rides and the 1965 Selma Movement. He directed the Alabama Voter Registration Project in 1962, was appointed national program administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and was national coordinator of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1968 Poor Peoples' campaigns.

In her speech on Sept. 12 at URI, Mrs. Coretta Scott King praised LaFayette and said he was one of the world's most knowledgeable teachers of nonviolence.

LaFayette is the director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at URI where he is a distinguished scholar-in-residence. Under his leadership, URI's Center has trained students and Rhode Island community members in nonviolence methodology. He is chair of the Governor's Commission on Race and Police and Community Relations. Outside the state, LaFayette is helping establish peace centers in South Africa and Columbia.

He has been described as "a leading spokesperson for the traditions of nonviolence and their translation to contemporary conditions in America, South Africa, and elsewhere. He is a direct link to many of the great achievements of nonviolent reconciliation of the 20th century, and a repository of the peace-building skills needed for the 21st."

Dr. LaFayette earned his B.A. from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, TN, and his Ed.D. from Harvard University. He serves as chair of the executive planning committee for the International Conference on Nonviolence; and has served in numerous national and international positions throughout his career including: director of peace and justice in Latin America; chair of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development; Scholar-in-Residence at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Alabama, director of the PUSH Excel Institute, among others.

URI's Colloquium series runs Tuesdays from 7:30 to 9 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

For Information: Lynne Derbyshire, 401-874-4732,
Arthur Stein, 401-874-4059, Jan Sawyer, 401-874-2116,
Jennifer Smith, 401-874-2116


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