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Wilberforce University Begins the Year of its Bayard Rustin Speaker Series, Sponsored by Dominion Energy 

Among the many accolades awarded during his life, Bayard Rustin, a former Wilberforce University student (1932 – 1934), was most famously known as the chief architect of the historic 1963 March on Washington, DC.

With a reputation for disrupting the status quo, the international human rights advocate, intellectual, openly gay pacifist greatly influenced the American civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Despite his profoundly pivotal work, he preferred remaining a background influencer, embracing Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of using nonviolent protest to create societal change.  Because of Rustin’s far reaching, tireless efforts that became internationally influential, Wilberforce University created the Bayard Rustin Lecture Series featuring speakers who are moved to action by social justice.

The first Rustin lecturer for 2021 – 2022 is Dr. David Marion, the co-owner and CEO of Marion Counseling Services, PLLC, a private mental health clinic that serves clients in Mississippi and Alabama. Dr. Marion’s address will take place virtually Thursday, September 30th at 11 am, EST.

“Decades before President Obama made community organizing a common phrase, Bayard Rustin was on the front lines of organizing and rallying people of all backgrounds, races, and genders to unite against Jim Crow, anti-labor and outright racist laws that served to deny many their right to social, political and economic equity,” Dr. Marion said. “His wise counsel to Martin Luther King and many within the Civil Rights Movement laid the foundation for many of the achievements and progressive changes we cherish today, and it’s up to us to build upon his framework to ensure we don’t lose the momentum he helped create.”

The nationally certified licensed professional counselor and family therapist holds a Ph.D. in counselor education with a minor in public administration and public policy from Mississippi State University, a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Mississippi State University, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Jackson State University. He is also the 41st Basileus (international president) of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Wilberforce students are encouraged to participate in the Bayard Rustin Lecture Series essay contest. The writings will be included in the university’s Journal of Truth, Entrepreneurship, and Social Justice, and a contest featuring cash prizes will also be offered. First place essay winners will receive $500, second place winners, $300, and $200 for third place. All essays must be submitted through a Wilberforce University email account and sent to for more information.

This series, sponsored by Dominion Energy, will take place virtually until further notice.

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