Civil Rights Activist and Author David Dennis Sr. to Present "What Does it Mean to be an American" at the La Crosse Community Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Viterbo University Jan. 21
David Dennis

Jan. 9, 2019

Contacts: Keith Knutson at 608-796-3496 or kaknutson@viterbo.edu
Thomas Harris at 608-780-7153 or tharris@uwlax.edu
Shaundel Spivey at 414-759-4017 or spivey.shau@gmail.com
Eric Weinberg at 608-796-3045 or egweinberg@viterbo.edu

CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND AUTHOR DAVID DENNIS SR. TO PRESENT “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN AMERICAN?” AT THE LA CROSSE COMMUNITY ANNUAL DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CELEBRATION AT VITERBO UNIVERSITY JAN. 21

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Civil rights activist and author David Dennis Sr., will present the keynote address “What Does it Mean to be an American?” at the La Crosse Community Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21 in the Viterbo University Fine Arts Center Main Theatre.

Dennis left college in 1961 to work in the civil rights movement in the South and was on the first freedom bus ride from Montgomery, Ala., to Jackson, Miss., later that year. He would be arrested more than 30 times while helping to register disenfranchised voters. He worked closely with fellow activists Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney, who were murdered with Andrew Goodman in an infamous event in Mississippi in 1964. Dennis gave the eulogy at Chaney’s funeral. Dennis’ activism for voting rights and quality education continues to this day.

Returning to college in 1965, Dennis graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans in 1968 and the University of Michigan law school in 1971. Today he is active in the Southern Initiative Algebra Project, which promotes increasing participation in Algebra I to open doors to careers in science and technology, and national speaking engagements through his organization, Dave Dennis Connections.

The La Crosse Community Annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is free and open to the public. A donation of a nonperishable food item for the Hunger Task Force is encouraged. The doors open at 6:15 p.m. and seating is limited.

The event will also feature performances by Viterbo’s concert choir, the Prodigy of Life dance group, and a youth group from the La Crosse School District.

The MLK Leadership Award, which honors extraordinary contributions to the La Crosse community that demonstrate Dr. King’s legacy of positive change from generation to generation, will be presented. This year’s award recipient is Shaundel Spivey, former cultural liaison for the School District of La Crosse and new College Connections Manager at Western Technical College.

New this year is the presentation of the Lynda Lowry Student Leadership Award, which will be presented to a local high school student. The award is named in honor of the youngest marcher in the historic 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. Also to be included are a tribute to the late Denis Tucker and a special thanks award to the Alternative Truth Project. Loucresie Rupert, M.D., a psychiatry and behavioral health specialist with Gundersen Health System, will serve as emcee.

This event is organized by the La Crosse Community Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee, co-sponsored by a wide variety of community organizations, and hosted by Viterbo University. David Dennis’ appearance is co-sponsored by the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. The event is held each year to honor the legacy of America’s civil rights hero and icon.

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