Savannah State University’s (SSU) Wright Choice Initiative will host National Freedom Day observances Jan. 30 – Feb. 1. All events are free and open to the public.
The Wright Choice Initiative, a Title III-funded mentoring program, is named for Richard R. Wright Sr., SSU’s first president. Wright is considered the architect of National Freedom Day, established to commemorate President Lincoln signing a resolution proposing the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States. A proclamation naming Feb. 1 National Freedom Day was signed by President Truman in 1948.
The National Freedom Day events will begin Thursday, Jan. 30, 6 p.m., in the King- Frazier Student Center, Marshview dining room. Winners of the student essay contest will read from their work on the theme of “Getting a 2020 Vision of Freedom.” A performance by Players by The Sea, under the direction of Darryl Thompson Norton, associate professor of performing arts, and a dance choreographed by Kisha Aites, Ph.D., associate professor of education, will be the highlights of the evening.
Attorney Mawuli Mel Davis will be the keynote speaker on Friday, Jan. 31, 10 a.m., in the King-Frazier Student Center ballroom. Davis is a Thurgood Marshall Award winner and was named Civil Rights Attorney of the Year by the Gate City Bar Association. He is co-founder of the Davis Bozeman Law Firm in Atlanta.
Following the keynote address will be a faculty/ student panel discussion and the program will conclude with a wreath-laying ceremony led by Charlotte Leota, the great-great-great granddaughter of Richard R. Wright Sr.
On Feb. 1, 11 a.m., a community celebration will take place at the Coastal Georgia Center, 305 Fahm Street. Amir Toure J.D., instructor of Africana studies, will lead a presentation on the theme “Getting a 2020 Vision of Freedom.”
Born into slavery in 1855 near Dalton, Ga., Wright’s career accomplishments included being an American military officer, newspaper editor, high school principal, civil rights advocate and banking entrepreneur. Wright served as president of SSU from 1891 – 1921.