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Civil Rights Leader Joseph Lowery to Speak at 20th Anniversary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast


The Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery will highlight the legacy of Dr. King’s dream at the 20th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast on Monday, Jan. 18.

Tickets for the breakfast, which will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, are now available at The event typically sells out each year, and will be broadcast live on Twin Cities Public Television. For the first time, it also will be available for viewing by U.S. Armed Forces – including those in the Minnesota National Guard – serving in Basra, Iraq.

Named one of the nation’s “15 Greatest Black Preachers” by Ebony magazine, Rev. Lowery earlier this year received the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the country’s highest civilian honor. Also this year, President Barack Obama tapped the civil rights leader to give the invocation at the presidential inauguration.

The 2010 milestone breakfast also will feature remarks from Dr. Michael Lomax, UNCF— the United Negro College Fund — president and chief executive officer.

Prior to leading UNCF, Lomax served seven years as president of Dillard University in New Orleans. In Atlanta for three decades, he pursued simultaneous careers as a university professor (Morehouse and Spelman colleges and the University of Georgia) and as a public servant (Fulton County Board of Commissioners).

The annual holiday breakfast got its start when UNCF and the General Mills Foundation joined together to host a community celebration to honor the legacy of Dr. King. What started with 800 guests in 1991 now has grown so large that it reaches capacity seating at the Convention Center as one of the largest King holiday breakfasts in the nation. Past speakers have included General Colin Powell, USA (Ret), Alex Haley, Yolanda King and U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

As the 2010 breakfast keynote speaker, Rev. Lowery represents a lifetime commitment to social justice. His legacy as a civil rights leader began in Mobile, Ala., a half-century ago when he led the desegregation of buses and other public accommodations. Following the famous Selma to Montgomery march in 1965, Dr. King asked Rev. Lowery to take demands from the march to Gov. George Wallace. This led to a dramatic confrontation between Alabama state troopers and the federalized National Guard on the capitol steps. Days later, Wallace agreed to meet with Rev. Lowery and his delegation.

Rev. Lowery was a founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957 and served as vice president until 1967, when he was nominated by Dr. King to serve as the group’s first chairman. A decade later, he was elected president, and served as president and chief executive officer until 1997. Rev. Lowery also is one of the founders of the Black Leadership Forum, a consortium of 25 national advocacy groups.

With a theme of “Dream from the Mountaintop, Share the Legacy, Shape the Future,” the 2010 breakfast will include musical performances and presentation of the Local Legend and Emerging Legend community service awards. Attendees also will be encouraged to consider service opportunities.

As in past years, the St. Paul Area Council of Churches will host several simultaneous free breakfasts that allow guests to watch the Minneapolis event on television. More information on these sites is available at

About UNCF
UNCF—the United Negro College Fund—is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 39 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 18 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at

About the General Mills Foundation
The General Mills Foundation, celebrating more than 50 years of giving, is a champion for stronger communities. In fiscal 2009, General Mills community support reached $91million, representing more than 5 percent of pretax profits. More information is available at


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