The Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University is pleased to announce that Lottie Joiner will be the keynote speaker for the 51st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Birthday Convocation at 10 a.m. on Friday, January 18, 2019, in the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium on the JSU campus.
Joiner is the editor-in-chief of The Crisis magazine, the official publication of the NAACP, and a Washington, D.C.-based freelance writer. She is a native of Jackson, where she attended Callaway High School and received a full academic scholarship to Jackson State. Joiner graduated magna cum laude from JSU with a degree in Mass Communications. While a student, she wrote for the Blue and White Flash newspaper, worked at the WJSU radio station, and joined the Gamma Rho chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
After Jackson State, Joiner received a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University, and her thesis focused on the media’s portrayal of Mississippi. Since then, she has written frequently about race, social justice, black history and culture, and the civil rights movement in Mississippi and the South. Joiner’s work also explores structural inequity and its impact on the lives of minorities, women, and marginalized and underserved communities. She has been published in The Washington Post, Time.com, TheAtlantic.com, Essence magazine, and Ebony and Jet magazines.
“We are very lucky to have Lottie Joiner return home to Jackson and JSU to be our keynote speaker this year for MLK Convocation,” said Dr. Robert Luckett, director of the Margaret Walker Center. “When you consider that Margaret Walker’s first published poem was in The Crisis in 1934, then the opportunity to hear from that magazine’s current editor-in-chief is even more special,” Luckett added. Margaret Walker began MLK Convocation at Jackson State to honor Dr. King just nine months after his assassination in 1968, making it one of the oldest celebrations of his life in the nation.
Immediately following MLK Convocation, the Margaret Walker Center will honor Joiner as well as the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Charlie Braxton, Grace Sweet, and Benjamin Bradley with For My People Awards for their contributions to African American history and culture. The luncheon will begin at 11:45 a.m. in the JSU Student Center Ballroom. Named after Margaret Walker’s classic poem “For My People,” past recipients of the award include James Meredith, Unita Blackwell, Robert Clark, Lerone Bennett, Andrew Young, Reena Evers-Everette, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, and others.
Opened to great acclaim in December 2017, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum has surpassed all expectations in just its first year and has had a remarkable influence on the public preservation of African American history and culture. Another Jackson State alumnus, Charlie Braxton has built a remarkable career as a poet and playwright and has become one of the leading cultural critics in Hip Hop. Finally, in 2013, Grace Sweet and Benjamin Bradley published Church Street: The Sugar Hill of Jackson, Mississippi, an important examination of the history of the Farish Street Historic District.
While MLK Convocation is free and open to the public, tickets for the 24th annual For My People Awards luncheon can be purchased through the Margaret Walker Center for $20 beginning January 2, 2019.
For more information, contact the Center’s staff at 601-979-3935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.