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SCLC Elects Isaac Newton Farris As New Chief

SCLC Elects Isaac Newton Farris As New Chief
Posted By: HBCU Connect Sports on September 03, 2011

In the wake of the sudden death of former SCLC President Rev. Dr. Howard Creecy, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference has voted to elect Isaac Newton Farris Jr., the nephew of SCLC founder Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as its new National President, and Dr. Bernard LaFayette Jr., a nonviolence expert and co-founder of the Student Non-**** Coordinating Committee [SNCC] as its new National Board Chairman. He replaces Dr. Sylvia Tucker, who resigned.
The SCLC Board also named Washington, D.C. labor leader Don Cash as its new vice chairman, and Louisiana attorney Randal L. Gaines as acting vice president.


"This is a great honor to, in effect, be continuing the family business," said Farris. "My Uncle M.L. founded SCLC and now I have the responsibility to re-brand and revitalize it as we effectively breathe new life with new, young leadership into this venerable and still valued organization."


Isaac Newton Farris Jr. was born in Atlanta, and attended his uncle's alma mater, Morehouse College, where he majored in political science. Farris background has given him a unique prospective and real-life experience on some of the most pressing issues of our times.

Growing up in one of America's most socially and politically active families has provided him with a front row seat, witnessing how policy is formulated and implemented.
Farris has met and dialogued with countless heads of state, CEOs, religious leaders, academic leaders, and grass roots activists. In addition, he has participated in debates and commentaries for print, radio and television media outlets including CNN, USA Today and WSB radio.


In 1986 he was campaign manager for Martin Luther King III in his successful bid to become a Fulton County Commissioner. From 1987-1992 he served in executive level positions in government where he was responsible for implementing policy.


In 1992-1996 Farris was tapped to become president and CEO of the Clean Air Industries Inc., a company that was not only involved in environmental cleanup but also developed a patent technology which allowed combustion engines of trucks, buses and cars to run on clean burning natural (Methane) gas. In 1996, he was appointed chief operating officer of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, and in 2005 he was appointed president and CEO of the King Center and served in that capacity until March 2010. Farris currently serves as Senior Fellow of the King Center where he continues to write, research and lecture on the life, philosophy and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.


Bernard LaFayette Jr. has been a Civil Rights Movement activist, minister, educator, lecturer, and is an authority on the strategy on nonviolent social change.



He co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and was a leader of the Nashville Movement in 1960 and on the Freedom Rides in 1961 and the 1965 Selma Movement. He directed the Alabama Voter Registration Project in 1962, and he was appointed National Program Administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and national coordinator of the 1968 Poor Peoples Campaign by Martin Luther King Jr.


An ordained minister, LaFayette earned his B.A. from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tenn., and his Ed.M. and Ed.D from Harvard University. He has served on the faculties of Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta and Alabama State University in Montgomery, where he was dean of the Graduate School; he also was principal of Tuskegee Institute High School in Tuskegee, Ala., and a teaching fellow at Harvard University. In addition, LaFayette has authored several publications.


Dr. LaFayette is a former president of the American Baptist College of ABT Seminary in Nashville; Scholar in Residence at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta; and pastor emeritus of the Progressive Baptist Church in Nashville. He is a native of Tampa, Fla., and is married to the former Kate Bulls.



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