Palm Beach State honors legacy of civil rights leader
Palm Beach State College held its 16th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Breakfast at the Lake Worth campus Jan. 15.
Dr. Lillie W. McCain, a retired professor from Mott Community College in Michigan, was the keynote speaker for the celebration themed “Education. Empowerment. Equality.” McCain, who grew up on a farm in Teoc, Miss., displayed a cotton stalk and wore a 9-foot cotton sack as a visual illustration of growing up picking cotton. She discussed the importance of education and the need for individuals to address stereotypes and prejudices in order for the country to fulfill King’s dream that his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
As part of the celebration organized by the PBSC District Diversity Committee, the College honored Dr. Delsa Bush, PBSC alumna and former West Palm Beach police chief; PBSC student David Cruz; Denny Abbott, author of “They Had No Voice: My Fight for Alabama’s Forgotten Children” and the Florida Immigrant Coalition. In a surprise move, PBSC President Dennis Gallon also was presented a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award for encouraging and embracing a culture of diversity at Palm Beach State College during his almost 18 years at the helm. In presenting the award, John W. Dowd, chairperson of the PBSC District Board of Trustees, noted the initiatives created under Dr. Gallon’s leadership, including a project to preserve the history of Roosevelt Junior College, an all-black junior college that merged with Palm Beach Junior College in 1965.
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