Dr. Randal Jelks to lead 2013 February Meetings

Jan. 15, 2013
Contact: Mary Moates ’14, Communications Assistant
865.981.8207; communications@maryvillecollege.edu

Dr. Randal Maurice Jelks, professor, clergyman and writer, will be the guest speaker for Maryville College’s 2013 February Meetings, scheduled for Feb. 25-26.

Jelks, the associate professor of American Studies with a joint appointment in African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas, is the co-editor of the academic journal American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, as well as the co-founder and co-editor of the Michigan-based blog, “The Black Bottom.” He will provide two lectures centered on the 2013 February Meetings’ theme, “Thinking, Acting, and Living for Justice: Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement.”

“Dr. Jelks will help us think about movements for justice in the United States beyond the names that are already familiar to us. He will help us see that every movement for change has its foundation in intellectual thought, dedication in the face of defeat and those who teach and support the visible leaders behind the scenes,” said the Rev. Dr. Anne D. McKee, campus minister. “This will inspire us and help us think through what our roles might be in moving farther along the path toward justice.”

On Feb. 25, at 7 p.m., Jelks will be speaking on “Benjamin Elijah Mays, Freedom of Conscience, and the Long Civil Rights Movement.”

Last year, Jelks published Benjamin Elijah Mays: Schoolmaster of the Movement, a biography about the man whom Martin Luther King Jr. called his “spiritual and intellectual father.” In the book, Jelks argues that Mays’ ability to connect the message of Christianity with responsibility to challenge injustice prepared the black church for its pivotal role in the civil rights movement.

Jelks’ second lecture, “The Challenges and Discomforts of the Prophetic Imagination,” will begin at 1 p.m., Feb. 26.

Both lectures will be in held in the Lambert Recital Hall of the Clayton Center for the Arts and are free and open to the community.

Jelks holds a bachelor’s degree in history from University of Michigan, a master of divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary and a doctorate in Comparative Black Histories from Michigan State University. He is also an ordained clergy person in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Held annually at the College since 1877, February Meetings have offered the College and local community an opportunity to come together to consider questions of faith and responsible living in the world. In years past, guest speakers and special music have been highlights of the condensed lecture series, which is open to all members of the College community, people in the area and visitors, including the College’s Board of Church Visitors.

For more information on February Meetings, contact the McKee at 865.981.8299 or anne.mckee@maryvillecollege.edu.