Virginia Union University to honor Virginia Legislative Black Caucus During the 42nd Annual Community Leaders Breakfast Speaker-Elect Eileen Filler-Corn will be Keynote Speaker

January 08, 2020

Contact: Pamela Cox
Dir., Strategic Communications
Virginia Union University Office: (804) 257-5856
Cell: (804) 937-7936

(RICHMOND, VA) – Virginia Union University will host the 42nd Annual Community Leaders Breakfast to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Friday, January 17, 2020. The breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Richmond Marriott Downtown, 500 E Broad St, Richmond, VA 23219. The Keynote Address will be given by Virginia House of Delegates Speaker-Elect Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) and members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus (VLBC) will be honored with the 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr Award for Civic Leadership. Governor Ralph Northam will also speak during the breakfast event. Tickets for the breakfast are $50, with sponsorships available. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please call (804) 342-3938.

“This is a historic legislative year for the Commonwealth of Virginia with the first woman being elected to serve as Speaker of the House of Delegates. We also want to recognize the dedicated service of the members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus for addressing the needs of under-represented people across the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Hakim Lucas, President and CEO of Virginia Union University. “We see this as a moment that Dr. King worked for and is significant to preserving his legacy.”

The breakfast precedes a week of events that contribute to educating and serving the Richmond area to uphold the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The events include:

Saturday, January 18 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. $25, Free for students with ID

The Virginia General Assembly Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission will hold a documentary screening and discussion of the HBCU Storyteller Project's documentary 400 Years Later...'free-ish on Saturday, January 18 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. on the campus of VUU at the Alix B. James Chapel in Coburn Hall. The event cost is $25 but is free for students with ID. The funds will go toward the cost of the planned Emancipation and Freedom Monument, a permanent 12-foot monument celebrating the emancipation of slaves and freedom. It will be located on Brown's Island in Richmond,

Virginia. Ten African American Virginians have been selected for inclusion on the monument.

Please contact ljones@dls.virginia.gov to reserve tickets.

Monday, January 20

Living the Dream, Inc will hold a Mass Meeting at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 20 at the Sixth Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. It will feature a program honoring local youth in our schools and Mrs. Charmaine Crowell-White, retired performing arts teacher in Chesterfield County will "do a one woman show" as Harriett Tubman the freedom fighter.

To learn about all the events taking place, please visit http://www.vuu.edu/MLKCLB.

Living the Dream, Inc. was birthed out of the original Community Learners Week which was organized in 1979 by the Richmond Committee of Black Clergy and the Office of Student Development at VUU. Rev. T.C. Milner headed the clergy group and Dr. Grace Pleasants directed the VUU office. The intent was to bring together the community to honor the memory and mission of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pleasants served as program coordinator with Milner assisting until 1983 when Milner became program director. The week-long celebration includes a Community Leaders Breakfast and educational and cultural events throughout the city.

Virginia Union University was founded in 1865 to give newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education and advancement. The American Baptist Home Mission Society (ABHMS) arranged for the first classes to be held inside the Lumpkin’s Jail, a former slave jail, also known as the Devil’s half-acre. Its owner, Mrs. Mary Ann Lumpkin, rented the space to be used. Lumpkin was a former slave who inherited the property from her late husband who had been a slave-dealer. Eventually, the ABHMS founded four institutions which would later merge to form the “Union” that gives Virginia Union University its name. They are: Richmond Theological Seminary, Wayland Seminary, Hartshorn Memorial College, and Storer College. The first Founders’ Day took place on February 11, 1899 with a groundbreaking ceremony at the current VUU site on Lombardy Street. Nine “noble buildings”, in Virginia granite, were eventually constructed to give the campus a distinctive appeal. Seven of the nine buildings remain: Pickford Hall, Kingsley Hall, Coburn Hall, Martin E. Gray Hall, Baptist Memorial Hall, Industrial Hall, and the “Power Plant”.

Today, Virginia Union University offers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate level programs through four academic schools: The School of Arts & Sciences, The Evelyn Reid Syphax School of Education and Interdisciplinary Studies, The Sydney Lewis School of Business, and The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology. The University has distinguished alumni across the country in fields such as: education; business, social activism; politics and government; journalism; sports and entertainment; ministry; sciences and the military.