Witt Series Welcomes Tillman

Civil Rights Activist Dorothy Tillman Headlines Wittenberg Series' Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation

Civil Rights Activist Dorothy Tillman Headlines Wittenberg Series' Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation

Springfield, Ohio – Wittenberg University welcomes Civil Rights activist Dorothy Tillman for its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation at 11:15 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, in historic Weaver Chapel as the 2016-17 Wittenberg Series continues.

Tillman is a former Chicago alderman in the 3rd Ward, where she represented part of the city's South Side in the Chicago City Council and was a strong advocate of reparations for slavery. Prior to her career as an alderman, she was highly involved in the Civil Rights Movement, working for Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) as an activist.

Known for wearing large hats and cultivating this image as her trademark, Tillman was born in 1947 in Montgomery, Ala., and joined the SCLC as a trainee and field staff organizer in 1963. She marched with King and was among the SCLC Field Staff to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., in the Selma to Montgomery marches on March 7, 1965.

Tillman first became involved in Chicago politics later that year when King sent her there to campaign for better housing, education and employment conditions for blacks. This campaign marked the start of King's effort to improve socio-economic conditions for blacks. Tillman helped to organize King's move into a Chicago tenement in early 1966 and the launch of his campaign in July 1966.

While in Chicago, Tillman met her husband, blues drummer Jimmy Lee Tillman. They moved to San Francisco shortly after their marriage and became involved in a successful campaign to improve public transportation services to their neighborhood.

Tillman later founded the Parent Equalizers of Chicago, which eventually became active in 300 schools across the city, setting the groundwork for school reform in Chicago.

While on Wittenberg's campus, Tillman will participate in a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m., Room 105 of the Joseph C. Shouvlin Center for Lifelong Learning, 737 N. Fountain Ave.

Now in its 34th year, the Wittenberg Series brings distinguished lecturers and performing artists of national and international prominence to the Wittenberg campus and Springfield community. To make special arrangements, request a Series poster, or become a friend of the Wittenberg Series, contact Lisa Watson at WatsonL4@wittenberg.edu. All Wittenberg Series events are free and open to the public.

Additional 2016-17 Wittenberg Series Events:

  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017: Concert with Goldstein, Peled, Fiterstein Trio, 7:30 p.m., Weaver Chapel.
  • Wednesday, March 15, 2017: IBM Endowed Lecture in the Sciences, 7:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium, Innovation at IBM, Smarter Planet Initiative, featuring Valentina Salapura, IBM.
  • Friday, March 31, 2017:  William A. Kinnison Endowed Lecture, 7:30 p.m. Bayley Auditorium, The Bioarchaeology of the African Burial Ground in New York City, featuring Michael Blakey, American anthropologist.
Cindy Holbrook
Cindy Holbrook
Senior Communications Assistant

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

Back to top