Every American is taught from the time we are children about Frederick Douglass, the man who escaped slavery and became one of its most famous opponents.
Born into slavery, Douglass later traveled across the country telling his story and became a newspaper editor, U.S. consul-general to Haiti and U.S. Marshal. But we don’t often hear of his descendants.
Today, a descendant of both Douglass and educator Booker T. Washington is also traveling the country to ensure that slavery in all forms is wiped out.
Kenneth B. Morris Jr. is the great-great-great grandson of Douglass and great-great grandson of Washington and serves as president and founder of the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, a public charity that preserves his family legacy and brings a modern abolitionist movement to schools through service-learning projects in an effort to end human trafficking.
Since 2007, the foundation has reached approximately 50,000 middle and high school students on the Frederick Douglass Dialogues Tour and created the Abolition Day Project to bring awareness of human trafficking. Morris has lectured at universities across the country, including Columbia University, Morehouse College, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Virginia Tech. He participated in the 2011 National Geographic documentary “Civil Warriors” on the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.
Another event surrounding the holiday, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast, will be held Monday (Jan. 16) from 8-10:30 a.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms. Please RSVP to the breakfast by calling the Center for Black Culture and Research at 304-293-7029.
At the breakfast, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award and scholarship winners will be announced.
Patricia H. Lee, a visiting associate professor and director of the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic at the WVU College of Law and president of the WVU Black Faculty Association, will speak at the breakfast on “Honoring the Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Together.”
“Martin Luther King Jr. is a powerful model of leadership, nonviolent methods of activism and is one of the greatest orators and writers in American history,” Lee said. “The Morgantown community benefits from his legacy and life.
“King’s hope for unity remains important and crucial today. In order for our nation to progress and prosper, we must do this together. His words, acts and deeds illustrate methods that we can use to work and live together in peace.”
Lee has an extensive history in legal education with an emphasis in business. She was founding director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at The University of Chicago Law School and has held posts in law schools at DePaul University, Northern Illinois University and University of Louisville. She has published articles on topics ranging from entrepreneurship, regulations, eminent domain, clinical programs and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Her list of awards includes induction at the age of 40 into the Nineteenth Century Women’s Club, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Community Service to the Business Community, the Ron Brown U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Advocate Award for the Chicago Region Med-Week, Cambridge Who’s Who and the McDonald’s President’s Award, among others.
Both events are sponsored by the WVU Center for Black Culture and Research.
CONTACT: Marjorie Fuller, director of the Center for Black Culture and Research
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.