January 7, 2003

Atlanta Mayor will speak at VSU's Martin Luther King Jr. Program

Valdosta State University will hold a program honoring Martin Luther King Jr., on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Biology/Chemistry Building. The Honorable Shirley Franklin, mayor of Atlanta, will be the guest speaker. The event is open to the public free of charge.

Franklin became the first female mayor of Atlanta on Jan. 7, 2002 and is the first female African-American mayor to serve a major southern city.

"We are happy to have the honorable Shirley Franklin help us celebrate the pioneering spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," said Maggie Viverette, acting assistant to the president for Equal Opportunity Programs and Multicultural Affairs. "Mayor Franklin has demonstrated many qualities similar to those of Dr. King and she has accepted the significant challenge of running for the office of mayor and went on to become a history maker in the process."

Viverette added that students and community members attending this event would have an opportunity to hear from one of Georgia's most powerful and visible political figure that represents a city that engendered the civil rights movement.

"The city of Atlanta was an important location for many supporters of the civil rights movement and continues to serve as the source of inspiration for many of today's leaders," Viverette said.

Before becoming Atlanta's 58th mayor, Franklin formed Shirley Clark Franklin and Associates, a management and consulting firm for public and community affairs and strategic planning. In 1998 she became a majority partner in Urban Environmental Solutions, LLC.

Franklin has been an active participant on more than 30 boards and committees, including Spelman College, United Way, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the National Black Arts Festival. Currently she serves as a member of the Democratic National Committee and treasurer of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

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