In celebration of the life, work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Cameron University and the Cameron Campus Ministry will present civil rights activist and political leader Kweisi Mfume on Monday, January 18, 2010, during the annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration. Mfume will present a discussion at 2 p.m. in the Shepler Ballroom on CU's main campus in Lawton, which is open to the public at no charge. He will also be the keynote speaker at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Banquet at 6:30 p.m. in the CU Fitness Center. Tickets for the banquet are $25 for adults and $13.50 for students and are available by calling Cameron Campus Ministry at 580-357-7226.
From activist to U.S. Congressman to head of the NAACP, Mfume has become one of America's most provocative public intellectuals. Born and raised in Baltimore, he became politically active as a freshman at Morgan State University where he served as editor of the school's newspaper and as head of the Black Student Union. He graduated magna cum laude. In 1984, he earned a master's degree in liberal arts with a concentration in international studies from Johns Hopkins University.
As Mfume's community involvement grew, so did his popularity as an activist, organizer and radio commentator. He translated that approval into a grassroots election victory when he won a seat on the Baltimore City Council in 1979 by a margin of just three votes. During his seven years of service in local government, he led efforts to diversify city government, improve community safety, enhance business development and divest city funds from the apartheid government of South Africa.
In 1986, Mfume was decisively elected to the Congressional seat that he was to hold for the next decade. As a member of the House of Representatives, he consistently advocated landmark business and civil rights legislation. He successfully co-sponsored and helped to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act and strengthened the Equal Credit Opportunity Law. He co-authored and successfully amended the Civil Rights Bill of 1991 to apply the act to U.S. citizens working for American-based companies abroad.
Mfume became President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP in February 1996, serving there for nine years. During that time, he significantly raised the national profile of the NAACP while helping to restore its prominence among the nation's civil rights organizations. Mfume is credited with helping to raise more than $100 million in outside contributions for the organization while at the same time developing its national Corporate Diversity Project and establishing 75 new college-based NAACP chapters. His five-point program of advocacy included civil rights enforcement, educational excellence, economic empowerment, health advocacy and youth outreach.
The recipient of 10 honorary doctorate degrees and hundreds of other awards, proclamations and citations, Mfume is also author to the best-selling autobiography, "No Free Ride." He currently serves on the Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees, the Morgan State University Board of Regents, the African American Advisory Board of PepsiCo and the National Advisory Council of Boy Scouts of America.
The 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. celebration is co-sponsored by Cameron Campus Ministry and Cameron University. For more information, please contact Cameron Campus Ministry at (580)357-7226.
October 28, 2009