West Virginia University will kick off Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations with a commemoration speech by Anand Giridharadas, columnist with The New York Times and author of “The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas” about a Muslim immigrant’s work to spare the man who attempted to kill him from death row.

“Our Martin Luther King program speakers this year could not be bringing more timely messages,” said Marjorie Fuller, director of the WVU Center for Black Culture and Research. “We are thrilled to be hosting these conversations, and we sincerely hope that they will address many of the pressing questions that people have about the current tension around race and culture in our country today.”

Giridharadas will speak at the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration titled “The True American: Race, Reality and the Dream,” on Thursday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. at Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church at 61 Beechurst Ave. in Morgantown.

The Ohio native has traveled the world working as a writer and consultant and in 2011 published the book “India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking.” His newest book “The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas” is being made into a major motion picture.

The University will host its 25th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast on Monday, Jan. 19, at 8 a.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms. Please RSVP to the breakfast by Jan. 12 by calling 304.293.7029. At the breakfast, the Martin Luther King Jr. achievement and scholarship award winners will be announced.

The keynote speaker at this year’s breakfast will be Sheila Coleman-Castells, the owner of Sangha Consulting where she works in the fields of education, “green” labor and workforce development, entrepreneurship, government relations and housing, among other fields. In the past she has served as consultant with the West Virginia Department of Education, the Weatherization Training Center Development Program at the West Virginia Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, and the West Virginia Home Builders Association Charitable Fund.



CONTACT: Marjorie Fuller, director, Center for Black Culture and Research
Marjorie.Fuller@mail.wvu.edu, 304-293-7029

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