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ongressman John Lewis and Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett addressed the graduating class, faculty and invited guests at Berea College’s Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies on May 7.  Representative John Lewis of Georgia’s 5th District was born just outside of Troy, Alabama and held a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy from Fisk University.  He was also a graduate of the American Baptist Theological Seminary.  He was awarded an honorary degree from Berea College during Commencement ceremonies.  Representative Lewis was widely known as one of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and he most notably helped organize one of the most pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement, the 1965 march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama.  He led around j600 peaceful protestors at that march, demanding an end to discrimination in voter registration.  Despite being brutally attacked at the march and enduring more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries over the years, Lewis remained a dedicated advocate for non-violent, peaceful demonstrations.  During his tenure in Congress, he used his platform to speak out about the need for accessible education for everyone, health care for all and equal civil rights for all disenfranchised groups.

 

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f you took a trip down 21 past the Pinnacles lately you would have noticed a new building at the edge of the Indian Fort parking lot.  While construction was completed on the Berea College Forest Outreach Center, it would not officially open to the public until installation of displays were completed by the fall.  The main purpose of the outreach center is to introduce visitors to Berea College’s forestlands and to the mission of the college as a whole.  To serve its mission of outreach, the center was divided into three sections.  The main entrance opened into what would be the interpretive display area, with welcoming of the community, visitors and school groups.  Berea College of Forestry also would have offices on site.  The third section was large classroom/conference and event space on the west side.  The space was able to accommodate up to 85 people and was capable of a hosting a variety of uses.  Once operational, the center will be open to the public as well as school groups.   There was a “sneak peak” at the new facility during the April meeting of the “Friends of Berea College Forest.”  This group was comprised of campus and community members who volunteer to serve as caretakers for the forestlands and Outreach Center in keeping with the community forest model.  During this meeting, volunteer opportunities were presented and sign up’s were made available. In addition the group took a tour of the new facility and Clint Patterson and Glen Dandeneau led a hike giving an overview and history of the Pinnacles

 

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ver 30 people participated in the historic bus tour of the City of Berea. The tour started at the new Forestry Education Center building at Indian Fort Theater.  The tour took approximately an hour and fifteen minutes, with Dr. Jackie Burnside and Sharyn Mitchell narrating the tour.  Mayor Steve Connelly participated in the bus ride along with other local leaders such as, Berea Superintendent, Mike Hogg and Berea Housing Authority Executive Director, Doris Wyatt.  Fair Housing Lexington financed the trip and this was the ninth tour they had implemented in Kentucky.  The tours were locally programmed and took a look at the history of a city through its housing patterns.  Burnside and Mitchell pointed out that the current Glades Christian Church, located near the original Glades Church, where John Fee was invited to preach by Cassius Clay.  A memorial stands at the original location, now in Clay-Fee Homes.  They also pointed out streets where black and white families were assigned to live next to each other early in Berea’s history.  Connelly pointed out that those early efforts at the turn of the century were turned around at some point, as evidenced by a city ordinance dated before 1950 that dictated a black person could not purchase a home in a city block if there was a higher percentage of white people residing there.  The ordinance proclaimed that the efforts were for the health and safety of Berea residents.  More modern housing efforts were highlighted as well during the tour, including the Hope Estates that Habitat for Humanity built on Scaffold Cane, with the intention of creating an interracial neighborhood, the Industrial Park and the income-based housing developments.  Upon the group’s return to Indian Fort Theater, Burnside said, “In Berea, we have our challenges, but we have always faced them together.”

 

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