Wednesday, January 6, 2010

UVa-Wise to mark MLK Day with dinner, march, speech


WISE — Brian Wills, the Kenneth Asbury Professor of History at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, will be the featured speaker during the college’s 14th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration on Jan. 18.
The public is invited to all elements of the observances, including a free dinner at 5:30 p.m. at the First Church of God in Wise. A candlelight march from the church through downtown Wise will begin at 6:30 p.m. and proceed to the Wise Baptist Church, where the formal program will begin at 7 p.m. Transportation will be available for those unable to participate in the candlelight procession.

A nationally recognized Civil War historian, Wills is the author of “Gone with the Glory: The Civil War in Cinema,” “No Ordinary College: A History of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise,” “The War Hits Home: The Civil War in Southeastern Virginia” and “The Confederacy’s Greatest Cavalryman: Nathan Bedford Forrest,” along with numerous scholarly articles, essays and book reviews.
A member of the UVa-Wise faculty since 1992, Wills is the 2000 recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award presented by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. He also received the college’s Outstanding Teacher Award in 1998 and the UVa-Wise Outstanding Research Award in 1995.
In 2003, Wills was named the Kenneth Asbury Professor of History in recognition of his accomplishments as a scholar, teacher and leader. Wills is also a contributing columnist for the Kingsport Times-News.
Prior to Wills’ presentation, Justin Preston will recite King’s revered “I Have a Dream” speech. The Angels of Praise from Big Stone Gap will perform special music. During the dinner, Ritchie Kennedy and Mark Wooten of Wise will perform.

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