Gwendolyn Boyd Highlights MLK Week at UNC Asheville

Gwendolyn Boyd, longtime activist for women’s equality, highlights MLK week at UNC Asheville.

Gwendolyn Boyd, longtime activist for women’s equality, highlights MLK week at UNC Asheville.

Martin Luther King Jr. Week at UNC Asheville will include a keynote address by women’s equality activist Gwendolyn Boyd and a presentation of “The Parchman Hour,” as well as opportunities for student participation in a day of service and transportation for students to other area events celebrating King’s life and legacy.

An engineer, Boyd is executive assistant to the chief of staff at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and is chair of the university’s Diversity Leadership Council. She was the first African American woman to earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Yale, and is a past recipient of the Black Engineer of the Year Public Service Award. She is past president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, a service organization of more than 200,000 women.

Accompanying Boyd’s keynote talk will be presentations by the two winners of an oratory contest open to middle school students in Asheville and Buncombe County. The two winners, both from Asheville Middle School, will talk about the meaning of Dr. King’s work in their lives. This event is free and open to the public at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, in Lipinsky Auditorium.

The Parchman Hour, written and produced by Mike Wiley, is a tribute to the courage, insight, and creativity of the young civil rights activists who created radio acts for each other within the walls of Mississippi’s notorious Parchman Farm Penitentiary, after being beaten and arrested for riding buses in defiance of Jim Crow segregation rules. The Parchman Hour, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, in Lipinsky Auditorium, is free and open to the public.

Martin Luther King Jr. Week activities at UNC Asheville are co-sponsored by the university’s Intercultural Center, Office of Multicultural Student Programs, Center for Diversity Education, and Cultural Events & Special Academic Programs. For more information, visit or call Lamar Hylton, director of the Intercultural Center, at 828/258-7671.


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