Guest speaker to highlight MLK Day keynote address

The Sam Houston State University department of history will present “Why the Voting Rights Act Still Matters,” a Martin Luther King Jr. Day keynote address featuring a guest speaker.

Albert Broussard, Ph.D, professor of history at Texas A&M University, will headline the event reflecting the significance of the Voting Rights act of 1965.

Bernadette Pruitt, Ph.D, associate professor of history at Sam Houston State University, said the event will present the important legacy of the civil rights movement.

“Dr. Albert Broussard’s lecture will remind our community and university that the Modern Civil Rights Movement sought to transform not only the lives of African-descent Americans,” Pruitt said. “Its most important goal was creating a culture that respected and cherished each other in spite of and because of the great differences that make us all members of the great human race. Dr. Broussard, a nationally known scholar of the Black experience, will remind us of this legacy.”

Pruitt stressed the importance of students hearing from scholars speaking over the various topics in which they are experts.

“In addition, it is always important for our students to meet scholars of nearby Research One institutions, institutions such as TAMU that will continue to lead the way in research development, technological innovations, and liberal arts scholarship,” Pruitt said. “Our students must make the necessary inroads that will ensure their success at becoming part of the national and international leadership that makes these transformations possible for all. Dr. Broussard will possibly serve as a first link for our students, particularly our students interested in the humanities and social sciences and interested in gravitating toward graduate or professional school at our neighboring institution in the future.”

Pruitt hopes students will walk away from the keynote with an understanding of civil rights topics and their role in today’s society.

“I want our students to understand the relevancy of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement in their own lives and times,” Pruitt said. “In a time when the country continues to face divisions predicated on historical events, religion, gender and sexuality, national origin, emotional and physical disability, socioeconomic class, race, etc., it is imperative that our next generation of great leaders-the millennials-understand their history and the role they must play in orchestrating real, permanent, sustainable transformations in this country and around the globe.”

The keynote address will begin at 4 p.m. today in the Olson Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Refreshments will be served following the program.

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