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BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 5, 2015 – On Jan. 19, 2015, King University and the Buechner
Institute will welcome author William H. Turner as a speaker in the 2014-15 Buechner
Institute Lecture Series. Turner will start his day by speaking in King University’s
Memorial Chapel at 9:15 a.m., in Bristol, Tenn. He will also speak on “The Disneyfication
of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” at the Bristol Public Library in Bristol, Tenn.,
at 7 p.m. the same evening. The event is co-sponsored by the Bristol Herald Courier
and Virginia Highlands Community College.
“Dr. William Turner writes authoritatively about the historical experiences of African
Americans in Appalachia, and has contributed greatly to American conversations about
race, justice, and culture,” said Dr. Shannon Harris, coordinator for the Buechner
Institute. “We look forward to his intriguingly entitled presentation in January.
Of race, Dr. Turner writes: ‘Racism -- and its linked effects and results -- saturates
the entire American social fabric with the consequence of what author Wendell Berry
titled one of his best books -- ’The Hidden Wound.’ Our collective neurosis, this
invisible injury -- a disorder which many refuse to acknowledge -- has a clear resulting
condition that affects all of us.’”
Turner will present a timely interpretation on how Martin Luther King Jr. and his
legacy have been appropriated in American culture and history. He grew up in the town
of Lynch in eastern Kentucky, where his father and grandfather were coal miners. He
has combined his personal and professional experience and focused on a career in sociology
with an emphasis on African Americans in the Appalachian Mountains.
For nearly three decades, Turner has contributed to the understanding of race and
American culture through his teaching, publications, lectures, newspaper editorials,
media consulting, and mentoring. He co-edited the path-breaking textbook “Blacks in
Appalachia,” published by the University Press of Kentucky in 1984. The focus of the textbook
rests on studies of black communities, white and black relationships, and political
issues in the coal mining industry. It also includes a section on oral accounts of
black experiences and an analysis of black Appalachian demography.
Turner was also a research assistant to “Roots” author Alex Haley for a decade and
served both as dean of Art Sciences and as interim president of Kentucky State University.
The Appalachian Studies Association honored him for a lifetime of service to the Appalachian
region. Until 2012, Turner served as distinguished professor of Appalachian Studies
and regional ambassador at Berea College. At present, Turner is a research professor
at Prairie View AM University in Texas.
William H. Turner will speak on “The Disneyfication of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,”
in King University’s Memorial Chapel at 9:15 a.m. in Bristol, Tenn., and again that
evening at 7 p.m. at the Bristol Public Library in Bristol, Tenn. This event is free
and open to the public. For more information, visit www.buechnerinstitute.org or contact Dr. Shannon Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-652-4836. All are welcome.
King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in
1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional
degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health
sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business
administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning
opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA
Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information
about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of
any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University
is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact
the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road,
Richlands, VA 24641.