Civil Rights Activist Will Give a Black History Month Lecture on Feb. 26 at Baylor University

Feb. 21, 2014

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Contact: Terry Goodrich,(254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Feb. 21, 2014) -- "My Life in the Freedom Struggle: An Incomplete Odyssey," a Black History Month lecture by political scientist and civil rights activist Leslie Burl McLemore, Ph.D., will be at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, in Morrison Hall, Room 120.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

McLemore, a native of Walls, Miss., retired from full-time teaching at Jackson State University in 2009, where he served a distinguished 38-year career as the founding chair and professor of the department of political science. In 2010, he capped off his service at Jackson State by serving as the interim president of the university. McLemore received a B.A. in social science and economics from Rust College, his M.A. in political science from Atlanta University and his Ph.D. in government from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

A veteran of the Southern civil rights movement, McLemore was the founding president of the Rust College chapter of the NAACP and organized and led voter registration drives and demonstrations to desegregate places of public accommodation. He joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1962 and served as the northern regional director for the 1963 Freedom Vote campaign in Mississippi, action that subsequently led to the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, of which McLemore was a founding member and elected vice-chair. In August of 1964, he was elected to the 64-member MFDP delegation, which challenged the credentials of the all-white Mississippi delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J. In this role and in his later activities, McLemore worked very closely with some of the giants of the African American freedom struggle, including Bob Moses, Fannie Lou Hamer, Victoria Gray Adams, Annie Devine, and Aaron Henry.

A recognized authority on the Mississippi civil rights movement, McLemore has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on African-American politics in the American South and the civil rights movement. As director of the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy, his most recent co-authored publication assesses the Institute's efforts to provide a curriculum that employs the history of the civil rights movement to inspire a commitment to civic engagement and democratic ideals among primary and secondary school children. In addition, he has a project under contract with Bedford St. Martin's Press for a book on the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project (Freedom Summer), scheduled for publication in 2015.


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University's oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 26 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines.

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