Millsaps alumnus and United Methodist Bishop Clay F. Lee Jr. ('51) was the featured speaker for the 2014 Rabbi Perry Nussbaum Lecture Series, which is dedicated to men and women who have stood against racial bigotry and religious prejudice. He gave a lecture on Friday, April 4 at 12:30 p.m. in Robert and Dee Leggett Special Events Center in the A. Boyd Campbell College Center.
Lee was recently featured in a New York Times article focusing on a sermon he gave in Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1964 in which he invoked Herod describing the bigotry he saw.
“We are honored to have Bishop Clay F. Lee as the 2014 Rabbi Perry Nussbaum lecturer at Millsaps, as he is an exemplar of the College’s strategic plan goal to promote our heritage of social justice, freedom of thought, acceptance of diversity, and critical reflection on the most important questions in life,” said Mike Hutchison, vice president for institutional advancement.
The annual Rabbi Perry Nussbaum civil justice awards and lecture series honor Rabbi Nussbaum and other individuals, many of whom have gone unrecognized, for their selfless contributions to the civil rights movement in Mississippi and beyond. Beginning in 2014, the award and lecture series has been expanded to honor more contemporary work around civil and social justice issues.
Recipients of the 2014 awards include Dr. W. Charles Sallis for his civil rights work including co-writing and editing the first Mississippi history textbook to include an honest presentation of racial bigotry, violence, and oppression in the state; Sara del Castillo, a Millsaps senior honored for her work around immigrants’ rights; Rev. William P. Davis, honored posthumously for his leadership in Committee for Concern, a network of clergy who helped restore African American churches that were burned during the Civil Rights Movement; and Hazel Brannon Smith, honored posthumously for her work as a newspaper publisher and editor who won a Pulitzer Prize for her “steadfast adherence to her editorial duties in the face of great pressure and opposition” from the Holmes County Citizens’ Council, which had formed in 1954, and from its segregationist supporters. The 2014 awards banquet will be held Thursday, April 3, 2014 followed by Bishop Lee’s lecture on Friday, April 4, 2014.
The Rabbi Perry Nussbaum Lecture Series has been graciously endowed at Millsaps College by John D. Bower, M.D.