Get Ready for Our Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Week
Jan. 31- Feb. 6
The URI Multicultural Center and the URI Dr. Martin Luther King Week Planning Committee are pleased to announce the 30th Annual Celebration of URI Dr. Martin Luther King Week, Saturday, January 31-Friday, February 6, 2016.
Featuring Ruby Nell Sales
While attending historically-black Tuskegee (AL) University as an undergraduate in 1965, Ruby Nell Sales marched with fellow students to Montgomery, AL seeking passage of the Voting Rights Act. Later that year, she was recruited by Stokely Carmichael of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to participate in a voter registration campaign in Lowndes County, whose population was predominantly African-American, low-income, and disenfranchised. Joining the picketing of a whites-only store by SNCC activists which had engaged in pricegouging, verbal abuse, and other disrespectful gestures toward black customers, Sales and her colleagues were arrested and held in jail for a week. They were abruptly released without satisfying bail. Upon their release, several of them sought to buy sodas at a nearby store which they had previously frequented. As they approached the store, they were threatened by Thomas Coleman, a special deputy of the county, armed with a 12-gauge automatic pump shotgun. With little warning, Coleman leveled his gun and fired. A white Episcopal seminarian from New Hampshire, Jonathan Daniels, pulled Ruby aside, absorbing the blast, and saving her life at the expense of his own. Transcending the trauma of the experience, and resisting the hatred and death threats of local whites, she testified at the trial of Coleman, who was acquitted by an all-white male jury. The acquittal of Coleman led to the filing of a lawsuit that eroded the systematic exclusion of African-Americans and women from juries. During a multi-varied career, Ms. Sales has been a committed advocate for improving equity and quality of life for women, serving as Director of Black Women’s Voices and Images (1989-91), and Director of Women of All Colors (1991-94). She has also taught courses on the U.S. civil rights movement and African-American women’s history at Spelman (GA) College, Bucknell (PA) University, and the University of Maryland. She holds a B. A. in American history from Manhattanville College, and an M. Div. from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA, where Jonathan Daniels had attended seminary. She also advanced toward Ph.D. candidacy in American history at Princeton University. In 2001, she founded SpiritHouse, a nonprofit organization that brings communities together across race, gender, and class divides through the practice of spirituality and social justice. Among her numerous honors, she has been selected as one of thirty African-Americans to be spotlighted in the new Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC.
To download our MLK Jr Week Booklet, click Here.
To register for our 2016 MLK Week, click Here.
D.I.V.E. RI Conference Spring 2016 registration is up.
To learn more or register for the conference, click HERE.