Noted Civil Rights Activist to Speak at MCCC Feb. 10


As one of the last people to speak to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., before his assassination, noted civil rights activist Jesse Epps will offer his perspective on a turbulent time in American history in his talk, "Civil Rights Then and Now: Where Do We Go From Here?" on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at noon at Mercer County Community College. Educated in labor relations at Syracuse, Rutgers and Cornell universities, Epps has spent the last 40 years fighting for and defending the rights and conditions of working men and women.

Presented free and open to the public as part of Mercer's Distinguished Lecture Series, Epps' talk will take place in the Communications Building, CM 109, on the West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

Last year, Jesse Epps, center, spoke to a group of students in the history class of Asst. Prof. Eric Watson, far right. Epps returns to address the entire campus community Feb. 10.

Epps began his professional labor experience working for the International Union of Electrical Workers at Local 320 in Syracuse, N.Y., serving as chief steward and as an executive board member on the Educational and Civil Rights committees. From 1960 to 1972, he served as the assistant to the International President of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Working on behalf of AFSCME, he traveled to Memphis in the spring of 1968 to assist in settling the sanitation workers strike against the city. In the waning days of this effort, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., agreed to the request of AFSCME officials to become involved in the negotiations. The strike ended with the tragic assassination of Dr. King on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel balcony on April 4, 1968. In spite of this tragedy, or perhaps because of it, Epps and AFSCME successfully negotiated a contract for the 1,300 striking sanitation workers. Last April, Epps was recognized for his role in the strike with the Drum Major for Justice Award, presented by the women's branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

To learn more about upcoming lectures at Mercer County Community College, click here or call 609-570-3324.

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