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Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 by

NewSouth author and civil rights activist Bob Zellner recently visited Huntingdon College as a guest speaker for a special Presidential Colloquy in his honor in the office of Huntingdon president Cameron West. Zellner, a Huntingdon alum, delivered his lecture on Monday, March 9, where he discussed his role in the civil rights movement as well as his memoir, The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement.

NewSouth author and civil rights activist Bob Zellner with Huntingdon College president Cam West

In an intimate, educational setting, students, faculty, and guests from the surrounding community heard Zellner discuss how he grew from an Alabama Klan heritage to joined ranks with the black students who were sitting-in, marching, fighting, and sometimes dying to challenge the Southern “way of life” he’d been raised on but rejected. From his meetings and jail-time spent with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to his countless arrests for breaking Alabama’s segregation laws, Zellner painted a vivid portrait of an Alabama that is all too often lost on the modern generation’s youth.

During a question and answer portion of the colloquy, Zellner fielded questions ranging from his thoughts on feminism’s role in the civil rights movement, to comparing modern race relations to those during the civil rights movement. Additionally, Zellner briefly discussed the parallels between Barack Obama’s historic rise to the office of the President and the nonviolent struggle of those who paved the way for his success during the civil rights movement, citing the great power nonviolence inherently possesses as a vehicle for change.

Said Suellen Ofe, Associate Vice President for Communications and Marketing at Huntingdon College, “The stories Bob shared were not only captivating, but also motivational. His humanitarian message was artfully and sincerely balanced between words of God’s grace and forceful commands to make the world a better place. The end result was vigorous discussion among students, faculty, and staff. We held onto him as long as we could–the questions, fervent and lively, just kept coming. In my opinion, it was the best colloquy we have ever had.”

The Wrong Side of Murder Creek, Bob Zellner’s larger-than-life memoir in which he describes in greater detail the events discussed in his lecture, is available directly from NewSouth Books, Amazon.com, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

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