Dana Brooks , dean of the West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, is one of five individuals being honored this weekend by the West Virginia Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission .
Brooks will accept the commissions Living the Dream award for human and civil rights during an awards luncheon Saturday (Jan. 17) at the West Virginia Cultural Center in Charleston.
To have my name associated with the legacy of Dr. King is a humbling experience,said Brooks, whose award is for advocating social change.I am truly blessed.
The awards luncheon is one of several events the commission is planning this weekend in Charleston in observance of Kings birthday. King was born Jan. 15, and a federal holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader is Monday (Jan. 19).
In their sixth year, the Living the Dream awards are given to individuals who best exemplify the principles and ideals of King in his pursuit for social change. Besides human and civil rights, the other award categories are advocacy of peace, sharing of self, scholarship and the Governors Awardwhich encompasses the qualities of the other four awards.
Brooks has been dean of the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences since 1993 and a faculty member since 1978.
His teaching and research areas include sport sociology and racial integration in sports.
He and WVU sociology professor Ron Althouse have collaborated on three books:Racism in College Athletics: The African-American Athletes Experience,The African American Sport DirectoryandDiversity and Social Justice in College Sports: Sport Management and the Student Athlete.Brooks is also the author or co-author of several book chapters and professional journal articles on diversity in sports.
In 2004, Brooks chaired a committee that organized a yearlong 50th anniversary observance at WVU of the Supreme Courts Brown v. Board of Education decision. The ruling outlawed segregation in the public schools.
Brooks is being recognized for his research into the history of integration in West Virginia and its impact on education and sports, said Larry Starcher, chairman of the commissions awards selection committee.
His work has shown the good, the bad and the ugly of integrationfrom providing equal access to education to displacing African-American coaches,said Starcher, a former West Virginia Supreme Court justice who is now a lecturer at the WVU College of Law .
For more information about the West Virginia Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission events, go to http://www.wvmlkholidaycommission.org/index.htm .
Several events are also planned in Morgantown to mark Kings birthday.
Julian Bond, a noted civil rights leader and chairman of the NAACP , will be the keynote speaker at WVU s 23rd annual Martin Luther King Commemoration Program Thursday (Jan. 15). The service, organized by WVU s Center for Black Culture and Research , will be at 7 p.m. at St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, 61 Beechurst Ave.
Meanwhile, WVU is honoring Kings memory with its annual Unity Breakfast at 8 a.m. Monday (Jan. 19) in the Mountainlair ballrooms. Brooks will be the keynote speaker, and the MLK Achievement Award and MLK Scholarship will be presented that morning.