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CU to host Black History Month chapel service

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By Joan C. McKinney

Dr. William H. Turner, National Endowment for the Humanities Chair in Appalachian Studies at Berea College, will be the featured speaker at Campbellsville University's Black History Month chapel Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 10 a.m. in the Ransdell Chapel.

The event is free and open to the public.

"We are honored to have Dr. Turner with us to celebrate Black History Month," said John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president.

"Dr. Turner is an exceptional scholar, and we welcome his thoughts and prayers as CU celebrates this very important part of our nation's history," he said

"We invite the public to this event and to the others we will be having in the month of February," Chowning said.

Other CU events celebrating Black History Month include a chapel presentation Feb. 13 by Dr. Joseph Owens, pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky., and member of the CU Board of Trustees, at 10 a.m. in the Ransdell Chapel; and the SOS Gospel Group from Simmons College of Kentucky in concert at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 in Ransdell Chapel. All events are free and open to the public.

During a distinguished career involving teaching, research and administration, Turner has served at Southern University, Fisk University, Howard University and the University of Kentucky and has also held post-doctoral appointments as a Senior Research Fellow at the Moton Center for Independent Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, interned as an Academy of Sciences Senior Ford Fellow at the National Center for Education Statistics through George Washington University and at the Center for the Study of Civil Rights and Race Relations at Duke University.

From 2002 to 2004, Turner was interim president of Kentucky State University. Turner, who was born and raised in a large coal mining family in Lynch in Harlan County, Ky., was awarded the bachelor of science degree in sociology from the University of Kentucky in 1968 and the doctorate in 1974 from Notre Dame University, specializing in race and ethnic relations, African American and Appalachian Studies.

Turner, a freelance writer, worked for a decade with "Roots" author Alex Haley as a research associate, while penning weekly op-ed columns on the politics of race through a consortium of black newspapers, as well as for the Journal, from Winston- Salem, N.C., between 1985 and 2002.

He has authored more than 100 essays, articles and papers; collaborated on videos and movies about Appalachia as a screen writer and producer; and his signature work, published in 1985, "Blacks in Appalachia," remains the first and only book to combine African American and Appalachian studies. In 2005, he helped with the publication of "African American Miners and Migrants," which tells the story of blacks in Harlan County.

The Christian Appalachian Project recognized Turner as its Citizen of the Year in 1994. In 2005, while serving as associate provost and vice president for Multicultural Affairs at the University of Kentucky, Turner was recognized with the President's Award for Diversity.

In 2006, he was inducted as a Notre Dame Black Exemplar; and, in 2007, he was honored with the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Dr. Martin Luther King Citizen's Award. Turner was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame in September 2007.

Turner and his wife of 39 years, Vivian, live in Lexington. They are the parents of three adult children, Kisha, William Kenyatta and Hodari and the grandparents of Africa, Hodari Jr., Amani and William Lucien.

Chapel is designed to provide opportunities for corporate worship and exposure through of a variety of informative speakers and presentations. All chapels are open to the public free of charge.

For more information, contact the Office of Church and External Relations at CU at 789-5520 or John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations, at jechowning@campbellsville.edu.

- Joan C. McKinney is director of university communications at Campbellsville University.