Civil rights speaker coming to campus


Sheyann Webb-Christburg, who was personally involved with the Civil Rights movement, will give a speech telling her story to conclude Black History Month at Arkansas Tech on Feb. 28.

Webb-Christburg grew up in Selma, Alabama, where she was introduced to Dr. Martin Luther King at the age of 9 during the Civil Rights Movement.

“Since I’ve been here [at Tech],  this is the first person that we’ve had that had this close relationship with a civil rights activist,” Dr. MarTeze Hammonds, associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion said. “This speaker is history. Think of the courage it took to be 9 years old and to be marching.”

Webb-Christburg was there for the historical event in Selma known as “Bloody Sunday,” which was the first attempted Selma to Montgomery march.

“I think it’s important for anybody to hear black history,” Hammonds said. “When we have the opportunity to talk about Hispanic Heritage month we brought in a Hispanic speaker; Black History Month we bring in a Black History Month speaker and for LGBTQ, we brought in a LGBTQ speaker. These are voices that are sometimes lost or unheard on this campus, so I want to make sure they have that opportunity.”

Black History Month events are co-sponsored by the department of Diversity and Inclusion, Career Services and the College of Arts and Humanities.

“It took some time, but ultimately our system worked for people who maybe have a minority status or have experienced oppression and sort of the arch towards equality,” Jeffrey Woods, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, said. “For me it’s about providing context for understanding that story to better understand ourselves.”

Webb-Christburg will be speaking at the Doc Bryan Lecture Hall, and there will be two sessions. The first one will be the afternoon forum at 4 p.m. on Feb. 28, and the second will be the keynote speech at 7 p.m. the same day. This lecture will be open to Tech students and the public.