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Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration

To commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day the Athenaeum proudly hosts Dr. Mary Frances Berry, chairperson of the United States Civil Rights Commission.

Recently named one of "America's Women of the Century" by the Women's Hall of Fame, Berry has created a distinguished personal history of public service in the areas of civil rights, apartheid, women's rights, racism, and black history. Berry has served on the Civil Rights Commission since 1980, and she earned significant public attention for her outspoken criticism of President Reagan's civil rights policies, for which she was fired in 1983. She promptly sued, won, and was reinstated by a Federal District Court and reappointed by Congress.

Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, she has held positions at the University of Michigan, the University of Colorado, and Howard University. Her published works on constitutional history and civil rights law include Black Resistance, White Law: A History of Constitutional Racism in America (1971) and Policy: Black Citizenship and the Constitution 1861-1868 (1977).

Berry's outstanding scholarly work and public service have earned her 20 honorary degrees and numerous awards. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to meet one of America's most honored civil rights leaders and join in the celebration of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. This address by Mary Frances Berry is sponsored by the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum and the Office of Black Student Affairs.