Chapel Series observes Black History Month

January 29, 2004
Karen B. Eldridge, Director of News and Public Information

In recognition of Black History Month, Maryville College will host a special community worship series entitled "African-American Traditions and Experiences in the Church."

Guest speakers have been invited to lead worship services every Tuesday, Feb. 3 through March 9, at 12:25 p.m. in the Center for Campus Ministry (CCM) on the campus. A few speakers have agreed to return the following Thursday for a 4 p.m. open discussion and informal conversations about their presentations.

The series gets underway Feb. 3, with an introduction to the six-week series by Raven McMillian, the College's intern for service and mission. McMillian will speak at the 12:25 p.m. worship service, then lead a follow-up discussion at 4 p.m., Feb. 5, in the CCM.

"From its beginning, Maryville College has had a history of accepting people from diverse backgrounds. With that in mind, the staff of the Center for Campus Ministry worked with various students, other staff and community members to create a series that involved people who would share what they believe is unique to them," McMillian said. "We decided an excellent way to celebrate diversity and Black History Month was to have people share their experiences about the church."

On Feb. 10, the Rev. Willa Estell, pastor of St. Paul AME Zion Church in Maryville, will speak on women in the church. Estell will return to the campus on Feb. 12 to talk informally with attendees and answer questions.

The Rev. Harold Middlebrook, minister of Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in Knoxville, will speak on the church's influence on the civil rights movement, during the Feb. 17 worship service.

On Feb. 24, the Rev. Anthony Dunnings will talk about music in African-American churches. Dunnings is the director of the Martin Luther King Center in Alcoa and chair of the 2004 MLK Celebration Committee in Blount County.

Nancy Smith Wright, the first African-American to graduate from Maryville College after reintegration in 1954, will speak on "Education and Desegregation" during worship on March 2 and will return on March 4 for informal conversation with attendees.

The series will conclude with a student-led March 9 worship and follow-up discussion on March 11.

This year, Maryville College celebrates its 50 th -year anniversary of reenrolling African-American students. The College's policy extending enrollment to all deserving students, regardless of color, existed from the College's founding in 1819 until 1901, when the Tennessee Supreme Court declared integrated classrooms unlawful. In a 1954 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, segregation was declared unconstitutional, and the College acted quickly to return to its previous integration policy.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,198.