BSC Office of Communications

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February 19, 2004

National philosophy convention and forum in Birmingham will review religion and civil rights

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—A March 4 public presentation “Religion and Civil Rights: Past, Present, and Future” will open the 31st annual national convention of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy to be held in Birmingham March 4-6.

According to Birmingham-Southern College Associate Professor of Philosophy and SAAP executive committee member Bill Myers, SAAP chose to focus on civil rights and religion while holding the annual convention in Birmingham this year.

“Religion drove the civil rights movement in Alabama so it is a natural fit to have this convention in Birmingham,” Myers said.

SAAP is an organization of more than 700 members, who are in academic philosophy, that provides a forum for the exchange of information, research, and ideas on American Philosophy. Following the opening public forum, SAAP delegates will spend the remainder of the March 4-6 conference in sessions covering research on religion and civil rights and other aspects of American philosophy.

The kick-off presentation will be at 16th Street Baptist Church from 6-7:30 p.m. and will feature remarks by noted civil rights activists and ministers Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Rev. C. Herbert Oliver. The event is free and open to the public.

Shuttlesworth, a Baptist minister since 1945 and currently pastor of the Greater New Light Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, is considered by some historians to be one of the Civil Rights Movement's “big three,” along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Ralph Abernathy. He was arrested more than 35 times and has been involved in filing or defending 40 civil rights lawsuits.

Oliver, a Presbyterian minister since 1955 and currently pastor of Kingslawn Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., is a Birmingham native who has been jailed four times for his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. He served as executive secretary of the Inter-Citizens Committee of Birmingham from 1960-65 when he documented cases of alleged civil rights violations.

In addition to the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, event organizers include the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Birmingham-Southern College. Co-sponsors include Alabama Gas Co., Alabama Power Co., AmSouth Bank, Dr. Robert L. Baldwin, Compass Bank, Protective Life Foundation, and SouthTrust Bank.

For more information on SAAP or the March 4 event, contact Myers at 226-4868.



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