MLK Scholar to present annual Zerby lecture

The legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. will be discussed at Bates in the annual Rayborn L. Zerby Lecture at 7:30 p.m. March 25.

The talk by theologian, teacher and author Vincent Harding, Martin Luther King and the Future of America, will be presented in the Edmund S. Muskie Archives. The public is invited to attend at no charge.

Harding’s books include his best-known work, There is a River, and his most recent, Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero. Focusing on the end of King’s life, the essays in the book reflect on how Americans might take the civil rights leader’s final years as a challenge and a resource for the nation’s future.

Harding was senior academic adviser for the acclaimed public-television series Eyes on the Prize. Currently he is professor of religion and social transformation at the Iliff School of Theology at the University of Denver.

Previously he was chair of the history and sociology department at Spelman College in Atlanta. He served from 1969 to 1974 as the first director of the Atlanta-based Institute of the Black World.

A native of New York City, he earned his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Chicago.

The Zerby Lecture is a memorial to Rayborn L. Zerby of Lewiston, who contributed to the growth of Bates through years of service as professor of religion and dean of the faculty before retiring in 1962. He died in 1987 at the age of 95.

Each year, the program brings leading commentators on contemporary religious thought to campus. Previous Zerby lecturers have included Holocaust chronicler Elie Wiesel and the Rev. Peter Gomes, a Bates alumnus and minister of Memorial Church at Harvard University.

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