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Bree Newsome to be Keynote Speaker for Shaw University MLK Celebration

Award-winning filmmaker, musician and activist has deep Shaw ties

Raleigh, NC — (January 9, 2019) – Shaw University today announced that nationally known artist and social activist, Bree Newsome, will deliver the keynote address for the University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, on Thursday, January 23, 2020. Newsome will address the theme “Awakening the Spirit of Freedom.” The program is free and open to the public, and will take place at 11:00 a.m. in the Thomas J. Boyd Chapel on Shaw’s campus.

Newsome became widely known in 2015 for her act of civil disobedience when she scaled the 30’ flag pole on the grounds of the South Carolina State House and removed the Confederate battle flag. Newsome’s action received international headlines, drawing attention to the opposition to the flag’s presence. In July 2015 the South Carolina House of Representatives voted to remove the flag from the State House grounds permanently.

Newsome is a recognized and celebrated voice on the topics of injustice and racial discrimination, frequently addressing the importance of leadership development in building and sustaining social movements. Also a musician and an award-winning filmmaker, Newsome uses her work to outline the relationship between activism and art, describing for audiences how the actions of ordinary people can make an extraordinary difference on the front lines of activism.

Newsome’s family has deep ties to Shaw University. Her father, Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, served as Shaw’s thirteenth president. Newsome’s great-aunt was accomplished educator, civic leader and Shaw alumna, Dr. Dimple Newsome; one of Shaw’s residence halls was named in her honor.