The co-producer of the acclaimed film Eyes on the Prize, Judy Richardson, will speak at West Virginia University’s 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration ceremony at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church on Beechurst Ave.


Richardson, who also helped produce the film Malcolm X: Make it Plain, is noted for her long-standing civil rights work, said Katherine Bankole, director of the WVU Center for Black Culture and Research.”Ms. Richardson’s talk on her personal experiences with the civil rights movement will most certainly be interesting and enlightening,”Dr. Bankole said.”She also will discuss ways the African American population is negatively portrayed in today’s media. I invite everyone to join us for this enjoyable and educational evening.”


Richardson served as a staff member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the early 1960s, and worked on SNCC projects throughout the South, first in the national office in Atlanta, and then in Mississippi, Alabama and Southwest Georgia. In 1964, she moved with the national office to Greenwood, Miss., during”Freedom Summer,”and in 1965 she helped run Julian Bond’s successful campaign to become a member of the Georgia House of Representatives.


She also organized a residential”Freedom School,”which brought together young people from civil rights struggles in both the North and South to talk about common concerns and strategies.


Richardson current lectures nationally about the civil rights movement and the making of Eyes on the Prize.


She has appeared on Nightline, Nightwatch and various new shows to oppose stereotypes of the African American community and the civil rights movement.


Richardson frequently talks with young people about the movement, its values and its relevance to current issues.


She also conducts teacher training workshops about the movement and its application to multiple disciplines.


Earlier in the day, another civil rights activist Virgil Wood will present a lecture titled How Old Realities Become New through the Dream at a noon-2 p.m. luncheon in the Mountainlair’s Mountaineer Room.


Dr. Wood is a noted prominent church leader and educator who has devoted much of his life to the struggle for economic and spiritual development among the nation’s poor and disadvantaged.


During his pastorate in Lynchburg, Va., in the 1960s, he became active in civil rights, setting up Martin Luther King’s work at the Lynchburg Improvement Association, a local unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He served with the conference for the last 10 years of Dr. King’s life and worked and coordinated Virginia’s historic March on Washington in 1963.


The luncheon is sponsored by The Sydney Banks Institute for Innate Health, the Robert C. Byrd Health Science Center’s Office for Social Justice and the Center for Black Culture and Research.


To make a reservation to attend the lunch, go to www.hsc.wvu.edu/sbi/mlk.htm


WVU also will sponsor a Unity Breakfast in the Mountainlair ballrooms at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, the national holiday commemorating Dr. King’s birthday.


Elizabeth Iglesias, a WVU professor of counseling in the College of Human Resources and Education, will speak at the event. Presentation of this year’s MLK Achievement Award will follow her talk.


Community members are invited to attend the free breakfast, sponsored by the WVU President’s Office, but advance reservations are required by calling 304-293-7029, ext. 110. In case of inclement weather, the breakfast will be held Friday, Jan. 25.


For more information on these events, call Phoenicia Keffer, 304-293-7029, ext. 110.