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Civil Rights in Athens

Civil Rights in Athens

Tennessee Wesleyan University will be hosting a community town-hall on the Civil Rights Movement in Athens on Tuesday, March 26 at 7 p.m. in Townsend Auditorium. Dr. Chris Schutz, Professor and Chair of the Department of History and Cliff Couch, Director of TWU’s Criminal Justice Program will serve as faculty moderators for a panel that includes four McMinn County residents that will share their unique and first-hand experiences. Panel members will include Anne Boyd, Robert McCowan, Jr., Ray Johnson, and Vant Hardaway.

Anne Boyd currently serves as president of the local NAACP chapter. She is a 1967 of Central High School of McMinn County – the first class to graduate from the school, and was the first African American student to attend Etowah City Elementary School.

Robert McCowan Jr., retired officer, City of Athens, was one of the first African American law enforcement officers in the City of Athens. Currently in his 90s, McCowan is an officer with Light of Life Ministries International headquartered in Athens, TN

Mr. Ray Johnson and Dr. Vant Hardaway
Mr Ray Johnson and Dr Vant Hardaway

Mr. Ray Johnson, a lifelong resident of McMinn County, was part of the last graduating class from J.L. Cook School, and has worked with or volunteered with many community organizations including the Athens-McMinn Family YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, Grace and Mercy Ministries, and Athens Housing Authority.

Dr. Vant Hardaway is a retired educator and community servant. He remains active in the community with service to Tennessee Wesleyan University, Starr Regional Medical Center, Grace and Mercy Ministries, and many other organizations in the greater East Tennessee region. He graduated from McMinn County High School in 1967, the first full class after desegregation in the McMinn County School system.

This presentation is free to attend and open to all community members.