University of Vermont

Civil Rights Activist Sheyann Webb-Christburg to Give Keynote Address on Jan. 24 for MLK Celebration

Talk by activist called "smallest freedom fighter" by Dr. King highlights two weeks of events on Jan. 17-31

The Selma to Montgomery March
The Selma to Montgomery March

Civil rights activist and acclaimed author Sheyann Webb-Christburg will serve as keynote speaker of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration, Education & Learning Week. She will speak on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 4 p.m. in Ira Allen Chapel.

Tickets are available free of charge to UVM students, faculty, and staff (one ticket with UVM ID) starting Jan. 17 and to the general public (one per person) on Jan. 20. Tickets are limited and can be picked up during business hours at the Dudley H. Davis Center (1st floor Hoffman Information Desk); the Registrar’s Office Student Service Center Kiosk (third floor) in Waterman; and the Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine Dean’s Office (Given Building).

Webb-Christburg, named the “smallest freedom fighter” at the age of eight by Dr. King for her commitment to the Civil Rights Movement, was involved in numerous marches including the now infamous “Bloody Sunday.” Born in 1956 in Selma, Alabama, her commitment to civil rights was heightened after meeting Dr. King on March 7, 1965, leading to a lifetime of fighting for justice, equality and the rights of others.

Webb-Christburg is nationally known as co-author of the book Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days, which was later made into a Disney movie entitled Selma, Lord, Selma. She also developed and has run the K.E.E.P Productions Youth Development and Modeling Program for the past 35 years to promote self-worth and academic excellence, leadership and etiquette.

The Webb-Christburg event, sponsored by President Tom Sullivan, the Department of Student Life and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, highlights a series of events honoring Dr. King that started on Jan. 17 with a MLK Birthday Party in the Rosa Parks Room and runs through Jan. 31. Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, director of Hurley Children's Hospital's Pediatric Residency Program and assistant professor of pediatrics and human development at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine, will give the MLK Health Equity Lecture "We Are All Flint: The Flint Water Crisis and Public Health Advocacy" on Jan. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the Sullivan Classroom (Room 200) of the Larner Medical Education Center.

UVM Gives a Dollar, a community service fundraiser that supports local non-profits, runs Jan. 17-31 and will benefit Steps to End Domestic Violence and the Peace & Justice Center's Racial Justice Program. Steps to End Domestic Violence helps people fleeing domestic violence and provides preventative education throughout Chittenden County, including a 24-hour advocate hotline. The Peace & Justice Center's Racial Justice Program runs workshops and programs across the state focusing on racial justice including equity and accountability in policing, and support other community groups that are led by people of color and work toward racial justice.  

Donation locations and a schedule of events are listed on the UVM MLK website below.

See the full scheule of events.