Rev. William Barber II, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and president of the NAACP North Carolina conference gave the keynote address during the 2019 UT Martin Civil Rights Conference.

UT Martin to host 20th-annual Civil Rights Conference

The University of Tennessee at Martin’s 20th-annual Civil Rights Conference will address the theme “Ordinary Heroes: The Struggle for Human Rights” with events the week of Feb. 17-21 on the UT Martin main campus.

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, a civil rights icon who had participated in more than 50 sit-ins and demonstrations by the time she was 23 years old, will give the keynote address at 7 p.m., Feb. 20, in the Boling University Center Watkins Auditorium. She was a Freedom Rider, a participant in the Jackson Woolworth’s sit-in, the March on Washington, the Meredith March and the Selma to Montgomery March. She is also a recipient of the 2015 National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award.

All events are free to the public and located in Watkins Auditorium unless otherwise noted. A schedule of events is as follows:

Feb. 17

  • “Elbert Williams: First to Die – Investigating the cold case murder of NAACP member Elbert Williams in Brownsville, Tennessee, in 1940”; Jim Emison, Tennesseans for Historical Justice; 1-1:50 p.m.
  • “Civil Rights Issues in Tennessee”; Mr. Tom Castelli, legal director for the ACLU Foundation of Tennessee; 2-2:50 p.m.
  • “Everyday Issues for Minority Students on Campus” panel; 3-3:50 p.m.
  • “Human Rights are Civil Rights” roundtable; Hortense Parrish Writing Center, Andy Holt Humanities Building, room 209; 4-4:50 p.m.
  • “Building Community: The Work Continues”; Weakley County Reconciliation Project; 6-7:30 p.m.

Feb. 18

  • Lunch with the Pedrito Martinez Group; Fine Arts Building Band Room; noon-1 p.m.,
  • “The History of Segregation and Education in Weakley County”; 1:15-2:15 p.m.
  • “The Ballot or the Bullet: The Next Generation”; LeLann Evans, community organizer; 4-5:15 p.m.
  • Concert: The Pedrito Martinez Group; Harriet Fulton Theater; 7 p.m.

Feb. 19

  • “LGBTQ+ couples’ experience post Obergefell v. Hodges”; 1-1:50 p.m.
  • “How Not to be ‘That Person’: Destroying the Bystander Effect”; Amy McLean, associate professor of social work; 2-2:50 p.m.
  • “Issues Faced by Immigrants in Tennessee”; 3-3:50 p.m.
  • Screening: “After Selma” followed by a question and answer with Loki Mulholland, director and screenplay writer; 4 p.m.

Feb. 20

  • Community Action Poverty Simulation; Boling University Center Duncan Ballroom; 9 a.m.-noon.
  • “The Sustaining Role of Religious Music in the Civil Rights Movement”; Rev. Courtney Pace; 1-2:15 p.m.
  • Screening: “The Uncomfortable Truth” followed by a question and answer with Loki Mulholland, director and screenplay writer; 2:30-4 p.m.
  • Workshop: “Minority Student Leadership Experiences on Tennessee Campuses”; Boling University Center, room 206; 4-5:15 p.m.
  • “Envisioning a Healthy LGBTQ+ Community”; Del Ray Zimmerman, director of the Office for Diversity Affairs and LGBTQ+ Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; 4-5:15 p.m.
  • Keynote: Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, civil rights icon; 7 p.m.

Feb. 21

  • Free student health fair; Boling University Center Duncan Ballroom; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

For more information about the Civil Rights Conference, contact Dr. Lindsay Anderson, assistant professor of sociology and conference organizer, at


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